Charles Christian Nahl Charles Christian Nahl was born in Germany in 1818. He studied as an artist in Germany, but when his family moved to New York, they got caught up in the gold rush. In 1851, they sold many of their belongings and joined the thousands of people who moved to California to try and make their fortunes as prospectors. Nahl and his family settled in a small prospecting town called Rough and Ready. Unfortunately, the land they bought did not have any gold, and they failed as miners. Nahl moved to Sacramento and started working as an artist. He became famous for his work capturing and defining the Gold Rush. Nahl’s most famous work is “Sunday Morning in the Mines,” which was commissioned in 1872. One of his paintings is believed to be the inspiration for the bear on the California state flag. Early in his career, Nahl painted miners near his home. In addition to painting, he made engravings and lithographs for newspapers, books and magazines. His work often focused on miners, native animals and western landscapes. He died of typhoid fever in 1878. A large fire in Sacramento destroyed his first studio and much of his work, so he moved to San Francisco. Nahl’s brother, Hugo, was also an artist. He designed the California state seal. The Nahls were also very interested in sports. They founded the Olympic Club together in San Francisco. Charles Nahl became more famous than his brother, but they shared a business and often exhibited in the same shows. Sometimes the wrong brother would receive credit for paintings. One reason that Charles Nahl’s work is so important is because he was able to capture a very important part of American history. The California Gold Rush was one of the largest migrations of people in human history, and it changed California forever. He captured the emotions and daily lives of the people living through this time in a way that writing couldn’t. He was an amazing artist at the center of an amazing time in American history. His work lets us experience a little of what life during that period must have felt like. crockerart.org californiapioneers.org theunion.com
Many self-defense tactics are considered intense competitive sports and are often derived from a country’s history and culture. Norway is no different. Glima is a form of Viking martial arts, often referred to as Viking wrestling. It’s popular among men and women. There are three variations of this martial art: free-grip, back hold and trouser-grip. Each form requires strength, flexibility and speed. In fact, the name glima comes from the Norse word “glimt,” which communicates rapid movement. The sport is typically practiced outside. And when it gets cold, traditionally, wrestlers will wear warmer clothing instead of moving indoors. Thor, a superhero and a legendary god of Norse mythology, was the main character in the earliest accounts of Viking wrestling. He was mentioned in poems in the 800s A.D. During the poetic story of his journey, Thor participates in a battle involving one form of glima! There are also books about glima that date back hundreds of years. One of them is “Prose Edda,” which was written in the 1220s A.D.
Have you ever looked at a painting and suddenly felt as though it transported you to another place? Well, that’s what Chinese brush paintings do. This art form is viewd as an extension of calligraphy. As a general rule, the places in these paintings of rolling landscapes or other places are not real. They are imaginary. They’re not sketched bit by bit from what the eye can see, but they tap into the imagination for inspiration. Unlike a lot of Western art, these decorative paintings aren’t framed. Instead, they are mounted to a scroll and hung along the walls for display. Also, unlike in Western art, the goal of a brush painter is to visually capture the inner existence of the painting’s subject as opposed to an attempting a realistic portrayal. This art form may seem fairly free-flowing, but there is a technique that Chinese artists follow. Let’s take a look at brush-painting techniques: 2. Hold the brush handle loosely along the middle. Place the inside of your index finger on the handle to support the brush’s motion. The index finger and middle finger will lie on the outside of the brush, with your thumb supporting from the inside. The ring and pinkie fingers will be relaxed in this position. None of your fingers should be tight enough to touch the inside of your palm. Many say your grip should be loose enough to hold a tomato between the brush and your palm without bruising the tomato.
Silk has been an important part of India’s culture and economy for centuries. The first Indian silk was spun in 1725 BCE. The beautiful cloth was and still is considered a symbol of royalty and prestige. It is used in important rituals and ceremonies. Making silk is a long process that the Chinese guarded for many years. First, special silk worms are fed mulberry leaves. After eating for several days, the worms make cocoons around themselves. The cocoons are placed in almost boiling water to separate all the individual strands. These incredibly thin strands are spun together to create raw silk. The filaments are washed, dried and dyed beautiful colors. Then the silk filaments are spun together to make thicker, sturdier strands. Then, the silk can be used to weave cloth. 36,000 silk worms can eat one ton of leaves in their lifetime. Each cocoon can produce 700 yards of filament. India is the second-largest producer of silk. Ninety percent of India’s silk is produced on handlooms. South India produces most of the silk in India. Sarees, traditional Indian dresses, are usually made from colorful silk. India produces five types of silk. Indian weavers are known for their ability to create unique and complicated patterns while weaving. Different areas are known for weaving different complex patterns. Varanasi is the area famous for having the finest silks. Sometimes gold and silver strands will be woven in with the silk. There is the classic silk made from mulberry silk worms. Tussah is made by extracting silk strands from the cocoon of the Antheraea mylitta moth after it has completed its transformation. Oak Tussah is made from the Antheraea pernyi moth’s cocoon. This moth is native to China. Eri is produced by a moth that is native to India: It’s the Philosamia ricini. The Antheraea assama produces Muga silk. It is unique because it has a shimmery golden color. For more information, visit the following sites: naturalfibres2009.org anitasilk.com csb.gov
African music sounds different from Finnish music. Middle Eastern food is different from Nordic food. Traditional Brazilian clothes don’t look like traditional Russian clothes. Why? A lot of it has to do with resources and culture. The resources in Africa and Finland are different, and the people in each country use what they have to make musical instruments. Because their climates are so different, things that live and grow in the Middle East don’t usually live and grow in Norway and vice versa. So, people use what they can grow and catch to feed themselves. Brazil and Russia have different climates. People use the resources they have to make clothes that suit their environment. A person in Brazil has no need for a heavy coat most of the time, just as a person in Russia would be very sad in a lightweight Brazilian outfit during the cold Russian winters. Just as resources shape the way people live, the ways groups of people live shape their beliefs and culture. For thousands of years, most people did not travel beyond the borders of their town, much less their native country. They lived in one place, and most of the people around them shared their way of life and customs. Today, that is not the case. It is common for people to travel from country to country, bringing with them their cultural traditions, beliefs and values. In some ways, that can be scary. Meeting someone who looks different, speaks a language you don’t understand, wears clothes that you’ve never seen before and eats food that you don’t recognize can be intimidating. It’s scary being the person who doesn’t fit in, too. But it can be a lot of fun learning about how people from other cultures live and sharing with them how you live. Exchanging food, music, ideas and traditions gives everyone involved a chance to learn something and better understand someone else’s perspective. Differences aren’t always bad. In fact, they are often opportunities to make new friends.
Italy Art Italy is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance The Renaissance is a period that started in the late 14th century and lasted until the 17th century. This period is famous for its art. Instead of only focusing on religious stories and figures, artists started to focus on individual humans and human emotions. The philosophy that changed and encouraged art was called Humanism. These ideas started in Italy and then spread across Europe. The Renaissance started in Italy and then spread because all the trading that happened in Italy. Trading made the Italian people wealthy and made it easy for ideas to travel around the world. Some of the most famous artists in human history came from the Italian Renaissance. Renaissance means rebirth. • The movement started in Florence. • Wealthy Italian families would support artists to show off their wealth and power. • People supporting artists were called patrons. • Painters started to capture human emotions in their work and made their paints brighter. • Being an artist was highly competitive. They would compete for jobs. • Many artists were also scientists, philosophers, inventors and mathematicians. • One of the most famous works of art from this period is Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment.” It was painted on the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. • The Catholic Church was one of the biggest patrons of the arts. • Renaissance art came in many different mediums, like paintings, sculpture, drawings and architecture. • Greece and Rome inspired many Renaissance artists. For more information, visit the following sites:
Imagine the World with No Written Communication No street signs, no texting, no symbols for gaming controllers, no books. Thousands of years ago, there was no writing. People had to talk to each other to transfer information. As societies moved from hunting and gathering to farming, people stopped moving around as much. They needed a way to keep track of their crops. Rulers wanted a way to keep track of things like taxes. It was the Mesopotamians who are credited with the first form of writing in 3100 B.C.E. They used it to keep records. These first writings were nothing like the complex alphabet system we use today. They are called pictographs. They were more like pictures, sort of like emojis, but for business. Scribes used pointed tools to draw on soft clay. Many of the tablets discovered by archaeologists have information about barley crops on them. Barley was a major crop in Mesopotamia. By 3500-3000 B.C.E., the pictograph system had evolved into cuneiform writing. The city of Uruk is credited with advancing this type of writing. To write in cuneiform, scribes used a stylus with a wedge on the end to make impressions that represented words and images into soft clay. This form of writing spread to all of Mesopotamia where people used this type of writing until about 100 B.C.E., which is when alphabet-like script came into existence. For more information, visit the following sites: http://www.ancient.eu/cuneiform/ http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/writing/story/sto_set.html
Amber is a kind of fossil made from resin. Resin is a substance that plants and trees produce to help protect themselves from disease and injuries. A tree might produce resin when a branch is broken or an insect harms the tree. In addition to preserving ancient animals, amber is also incredibly beautiful. Humans have been using amber for thousands of years; the earliest example of this dates to 11,000 BCE in England. Today it is often used in jewelry. Ancient Egyptians used it for decoration as well; it has been found in tombs as early as 3,200 BCE. Another popular use for Amber thousands of years ago was as medicine. Amber is a translucent orange-yellow. It is a gem but not a gemstone. The amber produced by the Paleogene Forest is the largest deposit of amber in the world. It is also considered the highest quality of amber in the world. It is called Baltic amber. Most amber is between 30 and 90 million years old. Ancient Egyptians called amber the “Tears of Ra.” Amber can come in 300 colors. The color is determined by the plant material in the amber and by the amount of sunlight that it was exposed to while it was forming. Amber is clearer the more sunlight it is exposed to. Amber can be burned, and it smells like pine. It is very sticky, so sometimes debris and insects can get caughtin it. If the resin fossilizes then the resin and whatever is stuck inside it are preserved for thousands of years. Frogs, lizards, bird feathers and pieces of small mammals, insects and even a dinosaur feather have all been found in fossilized amber. ese fossils are not only beautiful; they also contain a lot of information for scientists. They have discovered 1000 extinct species of insect because they were preserved in Amber.
Didgeridoo The didgeridoo is a musical instrument that originates from the northeast region of Australia. The aboriginal people who live there have been playing it for thousands of years. Some researchers think this could be the oldest musical instrument in the world. They have even found pictures of the instrument in cave and rock paintings dating back 2,000 years, but some researchers think that people were playing the instrument up to 40,000 years ago. For many years, that particular region of Australia was the only place to find a didgeridoo. It was only in the past 30 years that the didgeridoo has made its way to the West. • The instrument is essentially a natural wooden trumpet. • The official classification is a brass aerophone. • Didgeridoos are hollow wooden cylinders. • They can be between 3 and 10 feet long, but most are around 4 feet long. • The longer the instrument, the lower the pitch. • Flared instruments have a higher pitch. • There are many local names for the instrument like the Mago of the djibolu. • Didgeridoo is the western name for the instrument. • The name depends on the region and the clan. • Traditional didgeridoos were made from trees like the “Stringybark” or “Woolybutt” that are native to that region of Australia. • The instrument is also an important part of ceremonies for many clans. • In some places, it is traditional for only men to play the instrument during ceremonies. • A special breathing technique is an important aspect of playing the instrument; it is called circular breathing. Traditionally, the didgeridoo is made from tree trunks that have already been hollowed out by termites while the trees are still living. Eucalyptus and bamboo were common materials for the instrument. The tree would be cut down, the bark removed, cleaned out, carved and decorated with traditional patterns and symbols. Beeswax would be placed around the mouthpiece to make it easier for the player to make a better seal on the instrument. Today, they can be made out of all kinds of materials like glass, hemp, ceramics, plastic, timber, cactus stems and metals.
Dance is an important part of Polish culture. Di erent regions have been practicing specific dances for centuries. Each region has a dance that symbolizes di erent important parts of life. Each dance has a completely different style, and the dancers wear very special traditional costumes. One of the most famous Polish folk dances is called Krakowiak. It comes from the region of Krakow. Krakow was the rst capital of Poland. The dance started in the 16th century. At first, the dance was only performed by men, but now it is danced by men and women. Many consider it the national dance of Poland. The dance is performed in groups of several couples. In the 19th century, the dance became a ballroom dance. The dancers wear bright costumes. The women wear white shirts, colorful vests and owery skirts. All of the clothing is heavily embroidered and covered in sequins, flowers, lace and ribbons. The men wear dark coats and white shirts. Their vests and pants are also decorated with embroidery,metal and brightly colored strings. The tempo is very fast. The dancers turn, jump, run and stamp throughout the dance. It is o en performed in circles or lines. Poland is famous for many di erent styles of folk dances. Each one is unique. For example, Kujawiak, from the northwest of Poland, is called the “sleeping” dance. Compared to other styles of dance this one is very calm and relaxed. All of these di erent styles of dance that are specific to di erent regions show that even in one country, the Polish people and cultures can be unique and different. Each style represents an important piece of life for the people who perform it. Each one is special and important even though they are all still Polish.
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