Understanding Symbols

How art objects make ideas and beliefs tangible through symbols. Students can understand ideas and belief by learning to decode these symbols. Using visual examination, comparing and contrasting, what can students learn about the ideas and belief systems of the people/person who made and used these objects?

Performance objective
Students examine two objects, analyze their components, compare and contrast them, and begin to learn about their meanings.

• Image of Buddha
• Image of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
• Looking Exercise
• Pencils
Handout: Venn diagram
Handout: questions

1. Teacher will show the two slides to the class.

2. Using the looking exercise and the background information, the teacher will discuss each with the class.

3. Teacher will hand out the outline of the Venn diagram. Students are instructed to enter the differences and similarities. Teachers may want to give the students categories for comparison, for example: the head and face, the clothing, the gestures.

4. Students and teachers will discuss the student’s conclusions.

5. Students are asked to answer the question handout.

6. Teacher will tell the student the story of the Buddha and discuss the concept of the Bodhisattva.

7. Students will reassess their handouts in light of the discussion.

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