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Задания 12-18



Прочитайте рассказ и выполните задания 12–18. В каждом задании обведите букву ABC или D, соответствующую выбранному вами варианту ответа.



Magnificent mysteries


“Dynasty and Divinity”, the first big exhibition devoted to African sculpture from the Kingdom of Ife (in present-day Nigeria), begins an 18-month tour of America. The show, which consists of a number of works in stone, terracotta and metal made between the 9th and 15th centuries, is a genuine revelation and a rare treat. Art from dramatically different cultures is often hard to connect with, as is their languages, traditions and ways, but these sculptures are naturalistic and remarkably accessible.

More than 100 works are on display. Some have been abroad before, some have left Africa for the first time. Text and photo murals on the walls instruct visitors about the ancient kingdom, which had been an unbroken monarchy for more than 800 years.

The background information is interesting but limited. The art itself makes a powerful impact. Some of it is unnerving. A few of the terracotta heads are gagged; others are deformed either by birth defects or disease. A dozen or more heads in copper alloy are exciting in a less complicated way; their faces radiate serenity. Ten of them are life-sized. The three that are somewhat smaller are topped by gorgeous crowns decorated with what appears to be rings of beads. These heads are beautiful, technically sophisticated and compelling.

Some of the objects in the exhibition definitely used to play a part in rituals. But were they made for that purpose? There is no answer as Ife has no written early history. Many of the works were chance discoveries. There is no archaeological record to help scholars find answers to the many questions that they raise. Were the copper-alloy heads the work of a single artist or workshop? Are the heads portraits or idealised images? It is almost impossible to be sure of the sex of one or two.

In the 15th century metal casting in Ife stopped abruptly. The reasons are quite clear. This was when the Portuguese arrived on West Africa’s coast to colonise it. The neighbouring Kingdom of Benin supplanted inland Ife as a trading centre and the metal casters, as other craftsmen, may have moved to where they were more likely to find patrons. For this speaks the fact that the best of Benin’s famous, more stylised samples of bronze were made between the 15th and 18th centuries. But the memory of the greatness survived, and Ife remained and still remains the spiritual home of the Yoruba-speaking people.

In 1910 Leo Frobenius, a German explorer, saw Ife’s superbly modelled terracotta sculptures and a single brass head. He was so stunned that thought they were too good to have been made by Africans and concluded that the sculptors must have been survivors of Atlantis, the submerged island of Greek legend. Along with expressions of excitement, there were echoes of this reaction in 1938 when Europeans first saw a cache of newly unearthed brass heads.

Now these reactions seem shockingly bigoted or, at best, quaintly narrow-minded: the skill and imagination of African artists is generally recognised. Ife sculpture is seen to be sophisticated, not primitive. Appropriately, the show is touring art, rather than ethnographical, institute. Its last stop before returning to Nigeria will be in the handsome new building of New York’s African art museum.



12. Which statement DOES NOT refer to the content of paragraph 1?

A) The sculpture in the exhibition is rich and diverse.

B) The exhibition pieces come from different countries.

C) The exhibition leaves a positive impression.

D) Art presented is easy to understand.



13. The heads make a powerful impact because they are …

A) masterfully made.

B) technologically complicated.

C) richly decorated.

D) shocking to look at.



14. In paragraph 4 the author argues that …

A) the casts were made from female models.

B) the exhibits were discovered by chance.

C) the exhibition leaves many questions to be answered.

D) the heads were made for religious purposes.



15. Saying the neighbouring Benin supplanted inland Ife as a trading centre the author means that Benin …

A) undermined the importance of Ife.

B) bought the casts from Ife.

C) conquered the neighbouring Ife.

D) replaced Ife as a cultural centre.



16. According to Leo Frobenius, the terracotta sculptures …

A) were brought to Africa from somewhere.

B) were made by Atlantis masters.

C) represented the citizens of Atlantis.

D) were figures from a Greek legend.



17. The author’s attitude to Leo Frobenius’ opinion appears to be …

A) neutral.

B) positive.

C) negative.

D) unsure.



18. In general, it may be said that the article is about …

A) an exciting art show.

B) a prejudiced opinion.

C) the history of Africa.

D) the art of sculpture.




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