Creativity and the Arts

The last weeks one important part of my work was the preparation of resources for this years Scottish Interfaith Week. This year’s theme for Scottish Interfaith Week is “Creativity and the Arts”.

I must admit, when I first heard about this theme, I wasn’t very euphoric. I’ve never been very well in doing arts on my own and although I like going to museums and sometimes galleries art is not my main area of interest and art and music classes in school were one of those I liked less.

But during the last weeks, while exploring the diversity of religious art, I realised that looking on religious art might be a good way for learning about a religious tradition.

Here are two examples:

Takaoka_Daibutsu_2011-07-15_01
By 柑橘類 (talk) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20077857
Buddha_in_Sarnath_Museum_(Dhammajak_Mutra)
Von พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี (ผู้ถ่าย-ปล่อยสัญญาอนุญาตภาพให้นำไปใช้ได้เพื่อการศึกษาโดยอยู่ภา่ยใต้ cc-by-sa-3.0)ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ – เทวประภาส มากคล้าย – Tevaprapas Makklay (พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7004539

Why are these to Buddha statues so different? They were made in different times, different countries and from people belonging to different Buddhist traditions. One is from India in the time of the Gupta Empire (320-550 CE) and one is from Japan and was made in 1981.

'Moses'_by_Michelangelo_JBU160
By Jörg Bittner Unna – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46476422

Why is Moses often showed horned in Western Christian tradition? If people look eg at the statue of Moses made by Michelangelo they might think Moses looks like the devil. But that’s not what the artist wanted to say. He just followed the Latin Art tradition. Christians in the middleages read the Bible (if they could read) in the Latin translation, the Vulgate. In this bible translation a Hebrew word, which literally means something like “shining” is translated by a Latin word meaning “horned”. L looking at this statue can tell you a lot about the complicated history of Christians and Jews using the same scriptures as their holy book in translating them in different languages, cultures and traditions.

From my point of view looking on different art traditions during Scottish Interfaith Week can improve the knowledge about the different traditions. There is a lot more to explore about Paintings, statues, Architecture, stories, poems, music, dances and so on!

If you are interested in attending some events during Scottish Interfaith Week or maybe hosting an event on your own or if you just want to know more about Scottish Interfaith week have a look on its brand-new website!

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Author: Simon Interfaith Scotland

I'm an intern at Interfaith Scotland and Interfaith Scotland from July 2017 to June 2018. I'm from Germany and I've been training to become a minister in the protestant church of Germany. In Summer 2018 I'm getting ordained and starting to work as a minister in a parish in Germany.

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