GRE Argument Essay 137
Collectors prize the ancient life-size clay statues of human figures made on Kali Island but have long wondered how the Kalinese artists were able to depict bodies with such realistic precision. Since archeologists have recently discovered molds of human heads and hands on Kali, we can now conclude that the ancient Kalinese artists used molds of actual bodies, not sculpting tools and techniques, to create these statues. This discovery explains why Kalinese miniature statues were abstract and entirely different in style: molds could only be used for life-size sculptures. It also explains why few ancient Kalinese sculpting tools have been found. In light of this development, collectors should expect the life-size sculptures to decrease in value and the miniatures to increase in value.
With the discovery of molds on Kali Islands in the argument given above, the writer concludes that Kalinese artists used molds of human body parts, and not tools and techniques to create the life-size statues of human figures. As against molds, very few tools have been discovered from the place. The writer also gives the same reason for miniature statues being abstract and different from these life-size statues. That is why, according to him, the value of miniatures should increase while that of life-size sculptures should decrease. However, there are certain flaws in this argument that could change the view that the writer holds.
The writer says that the discovery of molds of heads and hands on Kali concludes that the ancient Kalinese artists used molds to create the statues instead of tools and techniques. However, this discovery does not provide enough evidence to come to the conclusion since there could be other interpretations as well. The writer ignores the possibility that these molds could belong to an era later than that of Kalinese artists. It is possible that while original life-size statues were made by the Kalinese artists using tools and techniques, the artists who followed them tried to reproduce the creations and made molds for the same. There is no clue of the fact that these molds were actually used by Kalinese artists. Moreover, the argument does not specify where these molds of the statues were found. It is possible that they were found at a different location than where the Kali statues were made. Since the number of Kali islands is not known, it is likely that there were many islands and these molds were found at another island than where the human statues were found. This would indicate that the Kalinese artists did not use these molds to create the life-size human statues as is professed by the argument.
The writer further says that since molds were used for creating these life-size statues, it explains why the style used for miniature statues was different. However, it can be argued that there are all possibilities that artists followed two different styles to make statues at the same time. While they made life-size statues with realistic precision, keeping in mind every detail, the miniature statues could be just abstract shapes of human figures. The scope of depicting details of human figure on a life-size structure are more than that on a miniature. Another possibility is that the miniature statues were made by the decedents of artists who made the life-sized human statues. Hence, the change in style could be a modification of the old Kalinese style. Therefore, there could be many other reasons for the miniature statues being abstract and different from life-size statues.
It is mentioned in the argument that since molds were used to make life-size structures, that is why very few Kalinese sculpting tools have been found. This again is a biased approach of looking at the matter. There is a possibility that most of these tools have been destroyed with the passage of time. It is also possible that they have been washed away from the islands into the seawater. Moreover, since archeologists have recently found molds, it is possible that most of the area is still unexplored by them. Therefore, there could be tools that have not been found by them. That would indicate that the Kalinese used more tools than those that were found on the islands.
The value of a sculpture depends upon many factors. It is the beauty and uniqueness of the statue that increases its value. If the Kalinese statues were made in a unique style that gave them their beauty, these statues would be priced high even if they were made by molds. The argument fails to explain why the miniature statues should be valued more than the life-size statues. It can therefore be said that the argument is embedded with flaws from the beginning to the end and does not effectively support its conclusion.