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What Are The 7 Traditional Arts

The Seven Traditional Arts are a set of artistic disciplines that have been passed down from generations to generations in many cultures across the world. These art forms have remained virtually unchanged and carry with them a sense of antiquity and ritualistic history.

Whether it is painting, music, dance, literature, theater, architecture, or sculpture, each is considered a precious aspect of traditional craft and art. In this article, we will explore each of the seven traditional arts, revealing their history and purpose, as well as examples of their lasting influence.

1. Painting

Painting is considered one of the oldest traditional arts, with cave paintings dating back to as early as 40,000 years ago. Many early cave paintings were created to communicate religious beliefs and spiritual guidance.

Later, during the Renaissance period in Europe, painting flourished as artists used it to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings in the form of oils, watercolors, or tempera. Today, painting is associated with beauty and emotion, either through abstract forms or realistic depictions of the world around us. The use of painting in traditional art is widespread and varied, with some cultures using it to tell their stories and others using it to express religious beliefs.

The art of Hinduism and Buddhism often features paintings of gods and goddesses, while African art uses bold lines and geometric shapes to communicate ideas and symbols. In Western culture, painting can also be used to document iconic moments, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.

2. Music

Music is another form of traditional art that has been passed down through the generations. It is typically expressed through either instrumental compositions or vocal performances. Music has often been used to provide a sense of emotion, be it to evoke joy, sadness, or even fear.

It has strong links to spiritual practices, with some cultures using music as a form of religious devotion. Traditionally, music has also been used to entertain, as well as educate.

This is especially true in Native American culture, where stories were passed down via music. In some cultures, music has even been used as a way to record history, such as in India’s Carnatic music.

Music is also an important component of the ceremonies of many religions around the world, often used for prayer and meditation.

3. Dance

Dance is another traditional art form and is often used to express emotion and stories in a physical form. It ranges from simple, repetitive movements, such as those used in traditional Indian dance, to complex routines full of jumps and acrobatics. Throughout history, dance has been used as a tool in religious ceremonies, spiritual practices, and festivals.

In some cultures, dance can be used to tell stories and teach lessons. For example, some traditional African dances were used to reinforce traditional gender roles, while dances in India were used to convey the importance of respecting nature.

It is also a form of communication, with some forms such as ballet specifically used to tell stories or convey ideas.

4. Literature

Literature is a form of traditional art which has been used for thousands of years to share stories, record history, and express ideas. Many of the oldest forms of literature can be found in oral traditions, with myths, poems, and stories passed down between generations.

Over time, these forms of storytelling have evolved and become more elaborate, often adding a range of characters and plot elements to captivate the audience. Great works of literature can be found in many cultures throughout the world. From Medieval European literature, such as Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”, to Ancient Chinese literature, such as the I Ching, literature has been used as a way to teach lessons, explore philosophical concepts, and tell stories.

Many of the most famous works of literature were used to examine the values and traditions of their respective cultures.

5. Theatre

Theatre is a form of traditional art in which stories are performed in front of an audience. It is typically a live performance, with actors, props, and costumes used to bring a story to life.

Over time, theatre has grown in complexity, with some plays adding elements of music and dance to their performances. The theatre has continually changed over the centuries and has been adapted for different cultures, often becoming a reflection of a culture’s beliefs and values. Traditionally, theatre has been used to entertain, as well as provide lessons on the morality and beliefs of a culture.

In Ancient Greece, theatre was used to pay homage to the gods via tragedies, while in traditional Japanese culture, theatre has featured various stories, dances, and rituals. Theatre has also become a platform for explored complex political and social themes.

6. Architecture

Architecture is an example of traditional art that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It involves the construction and design of various structures and buildings that are used either for religious purposes or for everyday life.

In the past, architecture typically sought to reflect the values, beliefs, and culture of a particular society. In Ancient Egypt, for example, architecture was used to honor the gods and build monuments that would last for centuries, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza. In Europe during the Middle Ages, architecture was used to express the wealth and power of the ruling class via grand cathedrals and castles.

Architecture has often featured intricate designs and decorative elements, such as those found in traditional Islamic architecture and Hindu temples.

7. Sculpture

Sculpture is a form of traditional art which involves the shaping of physical materials and representing figures and scenes. It has been used for thousands of years to honor gods, celebrate heroes, and depict important moments in history. These sculptures come in many different forms, including reliefs and figurines, and can be found in a variety of material such as stone, wood, metal, and marble.

Some forms of sculpture have also been used to encourage spiritual reflection, like those found in Nepal. Other forms of sculpture, such as those found in Native American culture, were used to honor tribal deities and heroes.

Sculpture can also be used to communicate ideas and concepts, such as infinity and the cycle of life.


The Seven Traditional Arts are a collection of ancient forms of art which have been used to express emotion, tell stories, and honor gods, heroes, and cultures. Each art form is unique, but they all share a common goal of providing an outlet and platform for the expression of ideas and beliefs.

While these art forms are often associated with untouchable, antiquated ideas, they remain a source of inspiration and culture, and their influence is still felt across the world.

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