Notes on DVDs watched - 1 Cave & Tribal

Notes on DVDs

09.10.17 Lascaux, the prehistory of art
This DVD shows how the Lascaux cave was discovered, and gives detailed descriptions of its paintings and their location within the cave complex. It includes an insight into the surrounding environment and its animals, the techniques used to create the paintings, and some suggestions as to their meaning.

09.10.17 The Tribal Eye is a series presented by David Attenborough.
He takes a journey around the world to reveal the making and use of tribal art in some of the few places on earth where the traditions are intact. He discovers the complex relationships of the people with their art; the culture that enables them to produce such artefacts and the effect the interest of the wider world is having on their lives and art. The first episode centers on the life and customs of the Dogon people in Mali, concentrating primarily on their masks and mask rituals. After a brief introduction to the Dogon culture, the link between African and European art is elaborated upon, using works by Picasso and Braque as examples. Dogon blacksmiths are shown working on a sculpture and a monkey mask for an old woman's funeral; the funeral rites, which include masked performances and a staged mock battle, are shown in great detail. It ends with asking whether the Dogon should be allowed to sell their wooden sculptures to the west where they fetch such high prices, or whether they should remain in use as originally intended.

13.11.17 The Tribal Eye: The sweat of the sun
This is about the ancient Incas of Peru, Aztecs of Mexico and peoples of Colombia, where many objects, especially of gold were crafted. Many of these were destroyed by the Spaniards to make gold bullion. A visit to Machu Pichu shows how well the stones were fitted together despite no metal tools being available. The legend of El Dotado is explained, where the king threw gold objects into a lake, but these have never been discovered.

13.11.17 The Tribal Eye: Woven gardens
This shows the lifestyle of the nomadic Qashqai tribe of Iran, who herd goats while travelling on camels, horses and donkeys. The women wear colourful dresses, and are usually able to spin wool while travelling. When encamped, they make individual rugs which convey their own stories; these are used to decorate the tents which are put up at each stop. There is a scene of a wedding between one of the women and a man from a settled village, involving feasting and dancing. The skill of weaving has been standardised in some of the villages, where the women work communally on a large carpet, but using the same techniques as the nomads. Nevertheless, it is feared that the distinctive patterns of the different clans and tribes may be under threat, while at the same time the value of the rugs on the open market has risen.