Sea in culture
The role of the sea in human culture has been important for centuries, as people experience the sea in contradictory ways: as powerful but serene, beautiful but dangerous. Human responses to the sea can be found in artforms including literature, art, poetry, film, theatre, and classical music. The earliest art representing boats is 40,000 years old. Since then, artists in different countries and cultures have depicted the sea. Symbolically, the sea has been perceived as a hostile environment populated by fantastic creatures: the Leviathan of the Bible, Isonade in Japanese mythology, and the kraken of late Norse mythology. In the works of the psychiatrist Carl Jung, the sea symbolises the personal and the collective unconscious in dream interpretation.The sea and ships have been depicted in art ranging from simple drawings on the walls of huts in Lamu to seascapes by Joseph Turner and Dutch Golden Age painting. The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai created colour prints of the moods of the sea, including The Great Wave off Kanagawa. The sea has appeared in literature since Homer's Odyssey (8th century BC). The sea is a recurring theme in the Haiku poems of the Japanese Edo period poet Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) (1644–1694).The sea plays a major role in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, describing the ten-year voyage of the Greek hero Odysseus who struggles to return home across the sea, encountering sea monsters along the way. In the Middle Ages, the sea appears in romances such as the Tristan legend, with motifs such as mythical islands and self-propelled ships. Pilgrimage is a common theme in stories and poems such as The Book of Margery Kempe.Contemporary sea-inspired novels have been written by Joseph Conrad, Herman Wouk, and Herman Melville; poems about the sea have been written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rudyard Kipling and John Masefield. The sea has inspired much music over the centuries including sea shanties, Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Claude Debussy's La mer (1903–05), Charles Villiers Stanford's Songs of the Sea (1904) and Songs of the Fleet (1910), Edward Elgar's Sea Pictures (1899) and Ralph Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony (1903–1909). Burial at sea has been practised in various ways by countries around the world since the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.