The Art Of The Nations

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have never belonged to a writers' group as such, but long ago attended a course run by an English Lit. lecturer where books were debated.

On one occasion, the subject of prevailing characteristics in various countries came up, how we use the shorthand of stereotypes to convey identity, and I remember a Welsh lady suddenly protesting: "But you can't nationalise human nature!'

This is something I have never forgotten because, although human behaviour arises from the drive for survival, it develops and is shaped by a myriad influences. Time, geography, prevailing climate, constitution of the ground, profile of the landscape, mythology, beliefs and social codes are just a few. These run deep in the psyche but are 'read' by the outsider through surface traits and dealings. Cultural values can differ widely and it is never safe to assume that we're all coming from the same place or envision the same desired outcome.

Years later, I came across Kahlil Gibran's interpretation of racial characteristics which provides much to ponder, and, perhaps, to disagree with. I thought it would be fun to add a few of my own and wondered if readers might like to suggest their impressions.

 

Kahlil Gibran

 

The art of the Egyptians is in the occult.

The art of the Chaldeans is in calculation.

The art of the Greeks is in proportion.

The art of the Romans is in echo.

The art of the Chinese is in etiquette.

The art of the Hindus is in the weighing of good and evil.

The art of the Jews is in the sense of doom.

The art of the Arabs is in reminiscence and exaggeration.

The art of the Persians is in fastidiousness.

The art of the French is in finesse.

The art of the English is in analysis and self-righteousness.

The art of the Spaniards is in fanaticism.

The art of the Italians is in beauty.

The art of the Germans is in ambition.

The art of the Russians is in sadness.

 

Rosy Cole

 

The art of the Americans is in sustaining the Dream.

The art of the Portuguese is in adventuring.

The art of the Antipodeans is in breaking new ground.

The art of the Romanians is in elusive presence.

The art of the Hungarians is in tribal aspiration.

The art of the Japanese is in landscape in miniature.

The art of the Scandinavians is in overcoming enclosure.

The art of the Dutch is in quiescence.

 

And to finish on a capricious note...

The art of the Sicilians, when life hands them lemons, is in the sublimity of Limoncello (de Sicilia)!

 

 

 

 

Comments 4

 
Stephen Evans on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 03:52

Interesting. Not sure I think art is the right word. Maybe essence though. Not that I know many Romanians. And for Japan I would say rather - ceremony. And for Persian I think of Rumi - so, ecstasy.

Interesting. Not sure I think art is the right word. Maybe essence though. Not that I know many Romanians. And for Japan I would say rather - ceremony. And for Persian I think of Rumi - so, ecstasy.
Rosy Cole on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 22:21

You have some excellent points about those nationalities.It occurred to me some while back that St Francis of Assisi's lifespan overlapped with Rumi's and that they possessed (were possessed of) the same kind of mystic presence. Some research proved they had much in common and that Francis did actually meet Rumi's mentor, Shams of Tabriz. It was the time of the Middle Eastern crusades.

Art - yes I had the same reaction, but upon reflection feel that the word has become impoverished and that its elemental meaning is genius.

Thanks for your thoughts :-)

You have some excellent points about those nationalities.It occurred to me some while back that St Francis of Assisi's lifespan overlapped with Rumi's and that they possessed (were possessed of) the same kind of mystic presence. Some research proved they had much in common and that Francis did actually meet Rumi's mentor, Shams of Tabriz. It was the time of the Middle Eastern crusades. Art - yes I had the same reaction, but upon reflection feel that the word has become impoverished and that its elemental meaning is [i]genius[/i]. Thanks for your thoughts :-)
Guest - Kevin on Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:57

Hello Rosy, this is one of my favorite things from Gibran.
Some people love, whilst others hate, The Prophet.
I can highly recommend 'Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran',
a sort-of quote book, which you'll have to find used.

Hello Rosy, this is one of my favorite things from Gibran. Some people love, whilst others hate, The Prophet. I can highly recommend 'Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran', a sort-of quote book, which you'll have to find used.
Rosy Cole on Sunday, 06 June 2021 14:06

Delighted you enjoyed the post, Kevin. I do have most of the Kahlil Gibran books. At least I've counted eleven on my bookshelves, so that may speak for itself! :-) Thanks kindly for stopping by and commenting.

Delighted you enjoyed the post, Kevin. I do have most of the Kahlil Gibran books. At least I've counted eleven on my bookshelves, so that may speak for itself! :-) Thanks kindly for stopping by and commenting.
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