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Social Responsibility Essay – SAMPLE


Student’s Name

ARTS 1301.section

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Social Responsibility Essay – SAMPLE for paragraphs 2 and 3 and Works Cited.


Your Essay should start with the picture and full label.

Unknown Artist, Standing Dignitary, Wari culture, Peru, c. 600-1000 AD. Wood with shell-and-stone inlay and silver, 4” x 2 ½” x 1”. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX.

Introduction << You MAY use paragraph headings.

No sample given. Follow the directions in the assignment on page 2 in the paragraph outline.

Cultural Context

The Wari, also spelled “Huari,” were “the dominant Central Andean culture of the Middle Horizon (c. 600–c. 1000 AD) period” in South America (Meddens). They occupied the Central Coast, and North, Central, and Southern Highlands regions of western South America, where the “diverse environment” of the region “gave rise to a range of architectural and artistic practices” (Scher).

The cultures of the Andes “produced art and architecture that responded to their natural environment and reflected their beliefs and social structures” (Scher). During the Middle Horizon period, the cultures of southern Peru and northwest Bolivia, mainly the Tiahuanaco and Wari (Huari), were known for making artworks “based on essentially rectangular or square frames… with subsidiary motifs and designs applied according to a formula” (Willey). These groups highly valued textiles, and the patterns of clothing “indicated status and ethnic background, as well as playing an important role in religious, political and economic life.” The symbolism used in textiles “demonstrates the inseparability of religious and political elements within the design themes” (Meddens).

In the arts of the Wari and related cultures, common characteristics in the works “include isolated motifs, the division of the surface into squares, the portrayal of the ‘staff god’ in various guises and characters associated with him,” as well as “systematic contrasting of colours” and “considerable influence from textile designs” (Willey). Human figures were also common, carved “in a distinctly angular manner,” with various costumes and headdresses, “elliptical” eyes, and noses that are “somewhat trapezoidal.” These themes occur in textiles, as well as metalwork, and shell and wood carving (Meddens). In Wari sculptural tradition, figures often have “broad-faced heads” and are inlaid with “semiprecious stone and/or shell” (Metropolitan Museum).

Artwork in Cultural Context

Like much Wari art, the Standing Dignitary features inlaid stone and shell, carved wood, and a human figure with a “broad-faced head.” However, most accounts of Wari art history mention only large-scale sculpture, ceramics, and textiles. This piece is a small, figurative sculpture, unlike anything mentioned in most descriptions. The Kimbell Art Museum even describes the work as “rare” and the “only known example of a freestanding [Wari] figure entirely covered in the inlaid shell technique.” However, the pattern on the figure appears to represent a textile like the ones for which the Wari were known.

The museum’s catalogue explains the figure’s patterned garment as a “long ceremonial tunic decorated in an interlocking tapestry weave,” and notes that its “refined craftsmanship and wide range of materials” used in the work” suggest an owner of elite status who “could afford and appreciate such a luxury item” (Kimbell). Therefore, it can be said that the Standing Dignitary contains several elements common to Wari art, such as the materials and shapes used in the composition, and the (symbolic) use of textiles to indicate social status. However, this particular combination of size, subject matter, and medium appears to be unusual for the culture.


No sample given. Follow the directions in the assignment on page 2.

Works Cited

Kimbell Art Museum. Catalogue text for Wari culture, Standing Dignitary. Fort Worth, Texas, 2002. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.

Meddens, Frank. “Huari.” Grove Art Online.  1 January 2003. Oxford University Press. 9781884446054.article.T039236. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catalogue text for Wari-Chimú culture, Mirror Frame. New York, New York, 1995. Accessed 28 Oct. 2018.

Scher, Sarah. “Introduction to Andean Cultures.” Smarthistory, 6 Oct. 2017, Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.

Willey, Gordon R., et al. “South America, Pre-Columbian.” Grove Art Online.  1 January 2003. Oxford University Press. 9781884446054.article.T079951. Accessed 21 Oct. 2018.

Last Updated on April 24, 2021

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