Understanding Cultural Arts in General

Understanding Cultural Arts – Cultural arts is a term that may be familiar in everyday life. Even arts and culture cannot be separated from human life. However, not many people know what the understanding of cultural arts is, both in general and the understanding based on experts.


  • Understanding Cultural Arts in General
  • Understanding Cultural Arts According to Experts
  • Function of Cultural Arts
    • Practical Functions
    • Aesthetic Function
  • Kinds of Cultural Arts
    • Art
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Craft Art
    • Theater Arts

Understanding Cultural Arts in General

In general terms, cultural arts are taken from two different words, namely art and culture. The word art is taken from the Sanskrit word ‘Sani’ which has a meaning (offering, worship and service). This term can be interpreted as something that is made by humans where it contains an element of beauty that can arouse the feelings of others.

Meanwhile, the word culture is also taken from the Sanskrit word ‘buddayah’ which means something related to human reason and mind. Culture can also be interpreted as a way of life that develops in a society and is passed down from generation to generation. This culture is a complex lifestyle that is owned by community groups.

Of the two terms, if the two are combined, then the meaning of art and culture in general is everything that is created by humans, related to how to develop and how to live together in society. This created thing has a beauty value and was created intentionally by humans based on the reason or character they have and then passed down from generation to generation.

Understanding Cultural Arts According to Experts

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Experts define cultural arts with different and varied meanings. However, the essence of the given definition is not much different from the general definition. Well, here is an understanding of cultural arts based on the opinions of experts.

  1. Ida Bagus Putu Perwita. Ida Bagus Putu Perwita is an art figure from Bali. According to him, the definition or meaning of cultural arts is supporting facilities for carrying out traditional activities and ceremonies.
  2. Sartono Kartodirdjo. Sartono Kartodirdjo defines cultural arts as a coherent system, where the system can be used to communicate effectively through one piece of art. From that one part can later show or explain the whole meaning immediately.
  3. Harry Sulistiono. Harry Sulistiono is a fine arts lecturer at one of the universities in Indonesia, namely the Indonesian Education University. He explained the notion of art and culture as a skill to express aesthetic thoughts and ideas. Such aesthetic ideas or thoughts include realizing the ability and imagination of views on several works, objects or atmosphere so that they can present a sense of beauty and create a more advanced civilization for humans.
  4. Thoyibi. The definition of cultural arts was further put forward by M. Thoyibi who was an influential philosopher in Indonesia. The cultural arts proposed by M. Thoyibi are the incarnation of a cultural sense of art, which is included in the cultural aspect so that it can be absorbed and felt by many people in the history of human civilization.
  5. Kliucckhohn. In contrast to C. Kliucckhohn who defined art and culture as a system and technology. These systems and technologies are used for knowledge, livelihoods, community organization, religion and religious ceremonies, knowledge and language.
  6. Hillary Bell. Hillary Bell defines the definition of cultural arts as a term used in all works that can move the human heart or those who see it. Apart from that, the art can also find out who the creator or creator of the artwork is.
  7. Andreas Eppink. Andreas Eppink does not explain art and culture clearly, but he clearly expresses his opinion about what culture is. According to him, culture is an artistic as well as an intellectual statement that must become the hallmark of a society.
  8. Edward Burnett Taylor. Likewise with Edward Burnett Taylor who only defines culture. According to Edward Burnett Taylor, culture is a complex whole in which various aspects of community groups are contained.


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Function of Cultural Arts

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From the various explanations about the understanding of cultural arts and definitions from the experts above, now you already know what cultural art is. In a community group, this cultural art is made to fulfill certain functions. There are at least 2 functions of cultural arts that you should know. Here’s the explanation.

Practical Functions

Cultural arts have a practical function for human life, meaning that the resulting artwork has a function related to fulfilling the needs of humans functionally. So it is not only beautiful when viewed but still provides more function when used.

Simple examples, for example chairs and tables made with carvings that contain high aesthetic value. Even though they are made with artistic values, these objects still have useful values ​​for society.

Aesthetic Function

The next function of cultural arts is as an aesthetic function. This means that a work of cultural art is made by considering the functions related to fulfilling the human need for beauty that can be enjoyed.

For example, paintings or sculptures, both of which are cultural works of art that have no functional value. However, usually these objects of art work are used for religious rituals.

Apart from the two functions of cultural arts in general as described above, cultural arts also have several functions that are useful in specific everyday life. Here are some of these functions.

  1. Religious Functions. In Indonesia, cultural arts are often used in various religious activities to convey religious messages to people. The religious function of this cultural art can be seen, for example, in the holding of wedding ceremonies, birth and death ceremonies.
  2. Communication Functions. Cultural arts in the daily life of Indonesian people also function as a means or medium of communication. Cultural arts are used to convey ideas, opinions and criticisms to the audience. The delivery of information and communication with cultural arts is even more effective.
  3. Educational Function. In everyday life, cultural arts plays an important role in education. In the cultural arts that look beautiful, they display learning about life, manners, manners and so on.
  4. Entertainment function. Almost the same as the functions previously described, in addition to the applied functions as explained, cultural arts also function as entertainment. The aspect of beauty and the feeling of being entertained when watching cultural arts performances is a real manifestation of this function.


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Kinds of Cultural Arts

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Now you already know about the meaning of cultural arts both in general and based on expert explanations. Cultural art is an art product that creates civilization or is created from the culture of society, cultural arts can be divided into various kinds. The following are some kinds of cultural arts based on their shape.


The first kind of cultural arts is fine art. Fine art is a branch of art created using media that is visually captured and can be felt by touch. This impression can be formed by processing points, lines, planes, shapes, colors, textures, volumes and aesthetic references.

When viewed from its function, this fine art is divided into two types, namely pure and applied art. Pure art, in the process of its creation, focuses more on the expression of the soul. Examples of paintings, photographic images and so on.


The next kind of cultural arts is dance. This dance is a rhythmic movement that is performed to express feelings and convey messages in a certain place and time. The dance movement which is a form of expression of this art also has a specific purpose.

This dance consists of various variations, from traditional to modern dances. Dance cannot be called art if it does not fulfill the elements, both the main and supporting elements. The main elements consist of three elements, namely wiraga, wirama and wirasa or raga, rhythm and taste. Meanwhile, what is included in the supporting elements is the variety of movements and accompaniments, costumes, make-up and floor patterns.


Music is the next kind of art and culture. Music art is the result of a combination of tone, rhythm and voice as well as harmonization to produce a harmonious sound.


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Music itself is a branch of cultural arts that focuses on the use of rhythm, melody and tempo and other instruments. Music art is widely used as a means to express and express the feelings of its creator. This musical art can change and change over time.

Craft Art

Seeing from the understanding of cultural arts previously described, namely all things created by humans as a way to develop and survive in society. The next kind or type of art is made to fulfill and to develop and survive in group life in the community.

Why is that? Because craft art is a type or kind of cultural art that is made by hand and takes into account various aspects of art and its functionality. The term craft itself comes from the Sanskrit word ‘krya’ which means to make.

This craft art is a handicraft art which in the process of making it by hand (hand made) and requires special skills in making it.

Theater Arts

The last type or type of cultural arts is theater. This art is a performing art which requires a stage to display it as a medium for displaying it. This art can also be interpreted as a drama art in which it displays human behavior accompanied by body movements, songs and dances based on the dialogue played by the players.

Broadly speaking, theater arts can be defined as cultural arts that are displayed by acting or acting to be displayed on the stage. Meanwhile, narrowly speaking, this theater can be interpreted as scenes related to a person’s life journey, made in such a way as a dialogue and portrayed on stage.


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Well, that was a complete explanation of the meaning of art and culture both in general and according to experts, the function of cultural arts in everyday life in society and its kinds or types. With the explanation above, hopefully it can add to your insight into cultural arts, especially cultural arts in Indonesia, which have various forms and types.

This explanation can also provide an understanding that the notion of art and culture can not only be enjoyed by its beauty but also provide other more essential functions.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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