Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art, 2nd Edition - by Evelyn P. Hatcher
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The concept of art as being purely for aesthetic contemplation, that is typical of industrial civilization, is not a very useful one for cross-cultural studies. The majority of the art forms that we see in museums and art books that have come from Native America or Africa or Oceania, are objects that were once part of a larger artistic whole from which they have been extracted. We need to try to piece together and imagine the artistic context as well as the cultural one if we are to attain a deeper sense of the import than the piece available to use provides. Even then, it is almost impossible to define the artistic whole. Perhaps we would do better to regard these pieces as fragments from the lifestyle of a people.