Underrated culture

Everyone knows about ancient Greek sculpture, medieval Chinese painting, Gothic architecture, Islamic miniatures, Classical orchestra, etc.

How about a thread about lesser known or underappreciated cultural accomplishments? Art, architecture, music, literature, poetry, or whatever you're into is fine, so long as it isn't well known.

Classical Indian painting, between before 100 BC and 1200 AD is pretty underrated in my opinion. When people think of Indian painting today, they usually think of early modern stuff like this (upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Patta_Chitra_02.jpg) or of Islamic Mughal miniatures. The early stuff, which I think is much more impressive, tends to be ignored, probably because so little of it survives; most examples are from the Ajanta caves, and most of the rest are only fragmentary. I'll post some examples.

Pic related is from Ajanta, from around 500 AD.

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The earliest Indian painting I'm aware of are also from the Ajanta caves, in a few fragments dating from around 100 BC. I can't find decent photos of them though. Pic related is the best I can get.

From Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, 5th century.

From Polonnaruwa, also Sri Lanka, between 1150 and 1200 AD.

9th century Pandya painting from Tamil Nadu.

Chola painting from about 1100 AD.

Excellent paintings, do you have any examples of Southeast Asian paintings?

Here's som Maya vase painting style.
"4 toothless old deities prepare for a ceremony to Itzamná. 2 will take enemas, 1 is inhaling drugs,the last looks like he is applying make-up while looking into a mirror, all to the accompaniment of musicians."

"Palace drunken party. Honey is fermenting in the narrow necked ollas. Ruler watches as a dwarf drinks from gourd"

Supernatural palace with Old god (Itzamná) dying - women with deer.

forgot pic

A Sword Baldric made from gold wire. from Northern Philippines

War scene. Procession of warriors carrying weapons, battle standards, wearing great feather backracks

How it was worn around.

Long nose dance. Dressed as the God Ek Chuah, the dancer acts out the impregnation of Lady Xquic.

Women holding babies, aftermath of war.

In a palace scene, a ruler readies himself to dance to the rhythm of a rasca gourd. A woman carries a cache vessel with either a severed head or a mask. The text has the glyph for accession to office.

Seems to be a dance of some kind. The hand gestures of the two men and the two women are the same. that is, the ladies have one gesture, the men an other. One of the ladies is a Scribe wearing the scribal brush as part of her headdress.

Old God with two scribal pupils, one recieving a lesson in dates and another in numbers.

Thailand has an interesting eclectic style of painting that mixes Indian, Chinese, and Islamic styles, mostly from around the 18th-19th century, but I don't really have any good images of it. They also have amazing lacquerware from around the 17th century.

As for the rest of Southeast Asia, there isn't a lot surviving from pre-modern times. I think there might be some in Pagan though.

Also I love that Mayan stuff. Their fresco paintings are also amazing.


The lacquer pavilion in Bangkok is probably the best example of late 17th century Thai lacquerware there is, but I can't find detailed images of it. It's actually a 20th century building incorporating the walls of two 17th century temple houses.

forgot pic

Ah ok, I've seen some Thai art at the museum, it was amazing. I remember seeing a sculpture of some "birdman".


Old man coping a feel with a lady.

I'll post some Mayan wall paintings too. These are from Bonampak and date to around 790 AD, just a few decades before the Mayan collapse.

A war scene. The discovery of these murals in the mid 20th century completely changed the way Mayan civilization was viewed. Up until then, people had assumed they were a peaceful theocratic society without wars or expansionist states.

>I remember seeing a sculpture of some "birdman".
Probably a garuda. They're pretty common in Indian/Southeast Asian art.

The battle's victors standing over their captives, who's mutilated fingers and bleeding.

A bloodletting scene.


Calakmul's murals are unique for depicting the daily life of the commoners at a Mayan market.



A bloodletting scene from San Bartolo, dating to 100 BC.

Cacaxtla's murals date from around 650-700 AD. They're not technically Mayan, but they're part of the same tradition as Mayan painting (as opposed to the local style of Teotihuacan), being created by the Olmeca-Xicalanca, a Mayan-influenced people who entered the Mexican highlands after the fall of Teotihuacan.





Ah yes, these are some of my favorites. Especially the lady with the sheer blue huipil.

Some murals from Chilonche, discovered recently


Roman painting is well known, but the Greek stuff (other than vase painting) seems comparatively ignored. That's hard to justify considering this stuff laid down the basis for later Roman and Western art. I guess it's because there's no Greek version of Pompeii or Ajanta. Instead we mostly just have isolated frescoes preserved in tombs.

It's hard to make out, but the fresco at the top depicts a hunting scene in a landscape.



This is an Etruscan sarcophagus, but the paintings are attributed to an Italian Greek.



My favourite example.

Qanats are pretty amazing from a civil engineering perspective, doubly so when you realize they date back to the first millennium BCE.

This thread makes me think of those movies where a camera pans across a bunch of old artwork of a culture with ominous/epic music playing before the title screen comes up

I feel like I know what you're talking about but I can't think of a single example of it.

Why the fuck do humans even fucking exist?

Such nasty, sadistic creatures, always plotting how to fuck up your day or spit in your beer.

Yes, there is a hand full of decent people. Like 1 in 10. The rest is fucking scum.

like this?
A game not a movie but it fits the bill

Shitty example, but Planet of the Apes from 2001 comes to mind

Medieval Japanese sculpture, especially around 1200 AD, is pretty amazing. Probably the one thing they were better than the Chinese at.




Found a pic I took. Sorry it's bad quality it was from my old phone.

Blurry text that accompanied it.

Yeah, that looks like a garuda to me. Same as the thing in as far as I can tell.

I love this one.
There's something so iconic about that Hades face.

them 10/10 tits tho

daily reminder that this guy traces his artistic lineage back to herakles, which is pretty fucking cool

I'm in love with Minoan art. Everyone knows Bull Leaping and the Three Women, so I'll post a few lesser known ones.

This is like Dr. Seuss before Dr. Seuss.

The interplay of naturalism and abstraction is something they were damn good at.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say whoever designed the bottle for Kraken rum has definitely seen this vase.

Love it.

Here we have a Minoan youth, obviously modeled after Egyptian statuary.

What's interesting is how it's essentially a precursor to the kouros of the Greeks. Doubtful Archaic period Greeks had seen any Minoan statues like this one, but it's neat that they borrowed the same forms from Egypt that their Cretan predecessors did a nearly a thousand years earlier.


Minoan painting is great, I just wish it had survived in better condition. Mostly examples only consist of a fragments that were put back together, with the gaps sometimes filled in by modern artists.

Probably my favourite one.

Have any more of the Minoan women?

A few.




These next two are Mycenaean




Curiously the long nosed god was known as the god of merchants. He's also associated with the Underworld and sorcery. As the Maya viewed wealth and merchants linked with sorcery.


t. white guy

But did they poo in the loo?

Yes, actually. Shitting in the streets is a recent development

Wasn't familiar with this type of art, thanks OP.

They don't look white though.

I saw a Chinese couple get into a fist fight in this very cave. And then I smoked my first-ever bidi that a tout gave me. Thanks for the nostalgia blast, OP