traditional home decor definition

traditional home decor definition

what exactly is the 'decorative arts?' is it art made for decoration? like things that decorate the walls of yourhouse? well, not exactly. because a painting can decorate the wallsof your house but painting are usually considered fine art. in general, the decorative arts is definedas “the design and aesthetics of functional and utilitarian objects, often with an emphasison unique and hand-crafted forms. examples are furniture, pottery, basketry,textiles, metalworks, and stained glass.

as opposed to most fine arts objects whichusually have no other purpose than to be viewed and appreciated, like paintings and sculptures. but as you can tell with my use of words like"in general", "mostly", and "usually" that there are many fuzzy edges to this definition. and in my opinion, also sometimes many problemswith this definition. the fuzzy edges often come from question like“well what exactly do you mean by functional and utilitarian?” are embroideries that are not meant to beused in clothing or furniture, but only meant to be appreciated for their beauty considereddecorative arts or fine arts?

wood carvings and woodworking pieces are usuallyconsidered to be decorative arts, but what exactly is the utilitarian function of a ceremonialwood carving? unless you consider religious devotion tobe "utilitarian." but by this definition, paintings used inchurch altar pieces are also used for religious devotion, but those paintings are usuallyconsidered to be fine art. one of the problems is that historically,in western european cultures, objects that were considered to be "decorative art" wereconsidered distinctively different from the fine arts, and in many cases also less worthyof appreciation and academic study. this separation of the definitions doesn’tapply to every cultures in the world.

for instance east asian, islamic and indigenousamerican cultures historically did not make a separation between decorative and fine arts. chinese lacquer works, jade carvings, andming dynasty vases were considered just as artistically sophisticated as ink wash paintings. japanese origami would be considered a decorativeart by western standards, but most east asian cultures consider paper cuttings and paperfolding to be a sophisticated form of fine art. many islamic periods were dominated by workslike rug weavings, embroidery, ceramics and mosaics. however, in the context of western europeancategorization, works made by entire cultures were categorized as decorative arts, oftenviewed through the lens of utilitarian objects

rather than sophisticated works of fine arts,which offers some insight into these cultures but are not always the best way to view theseobjects. another issue is that things like basket weaving,textile, and pottery making were historically artistic realms that women actually had anopportunity to excel in, as opposed to disciplines like painting and sculpture, which women wereessentially restricted from participating in. but because practices like pottery, basketryand textiles were not considered to be fine art, and thus not considered worthy of beingdisplayed, sold on the art market, studied, or appreciated. and thus, this perspective further marginalized,diminished, and even erased women's accomplishments

throughout history. nowadays, many contemporary artists no longersubscribe to this distinction between the fine arts and the decorative arts. many artists work in a mixture of media thatinclude traditional practices such as painting, drawing and sculpting, but also things likewoodwork, textiles, metalwork and ceramics. for example the artist carl beam was knownfor his mixed media paintings composed of oil, acrylic and photo transfers, but he alsoproduced works in woodworking and ceramic pottery. the artist christi belcourt also often playswith viewers' expectations by producing works that are inspired by indigenous american bandolierbags, but are made with acrylic on canvas.

so, in this instance, similar to many otherinstances when studying history and culture, broad and generalizing terms can be helpfulin aiding our understanding, but it can also be limiting. i find it interesting to consider how artisticexpressions can be interwoven through everyday life and every day objects, and doesn’thave to be limited to those things we make in art class or those displayed in galleries. in the comments please let me know of an artwork,or type of artwork that you enjoy but would be considered "decorative arts” based onthe aforementioned definition, and tell me why you like it.

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