The differences between works of arts and functional objects


The difference between a work of art and a functional object may be hard to tell when it comes to discoveries from the prehistoric age.

Generally speaking, art historians apply the terms “architecture” and “art” to objects that have at least some evident aesthetic intent. Some people disagree with the use of the terms in connection with the findings from the prehistoric period. However, the creation of objects even during this period of human history did include imagination, planning, and creativity, especially in architecture. Humans in some parts of the world during the prehistoric period used a lot of ingenuity to create shelters and houses of worship that were anything but simple and primitive.

For example, in the treeless grasslands of Russia and Ukraine people built settlements of up to ten living spaces by using the bones of mammoth for roof supports and door openings. They have then covered the structures with animal hides and turf. Most activities occurred inside of the living spaces, by the fire pit, where food was cooked. Larger living spaces were divided into areas for specific use, such as working the stones, making the clothes and sleeping. Some people added color to their floors by using powdered ocher. The colors that archaeologists found include red, brown and yellow. The structures in Russian and Ukraine are very important because of their early dates.

Small figures of people and animals made of bones, stones, and clay started to appear in Europe and Asia around 30,000 BCE. There were two kinds of sculptures. Sculptures in the round were self-contained pieces. Relief sculpture was created by carving some of the surrounding material away to form a projecting figure.