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Art in the americas before1300


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  • 1. Hannah, Maddie, Cameron
    Art of the Americas before 1300
  • 2. American Areas
    • Mesoamerica
    • 3. Extending from Valley of Mexico to Honduras, Belize, and Western Nicaragua
    • 4. Olmec, Teotihuacan, Mayas
    • 5. Central America
    • 6. Mexico
    • 7. South America
    • 8. Peru
    • 9. Paracas, Nazca, Moche
    • 10. North America
    • 11. Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida
  • Before 1300
  • Mesoamerica
  • 22. Mesoamerica
    • Location: Valley of Mexico to present day Honduras, Belize, and western Nicaragua
    • 23. Region ranges in terms of climate, but all developed similarly
    • 24. Complex system of multiple calendars
    • 25. 260 ritual cycle and 365 day agricultural cycle
    • 26. Divided into elite and commoner classes
    • 27. Formative or Preclassic (1500 BCE- 250 CE), Classic (260-900 CE), and Postclassic (900-1521 CE)
    • 28. Consists of the Olmecs, Teotihuacan, and the Mayas
  • Olmecs
    Formative/Preclassic period
    Located in the swampy coastal area of present-day Veracruz and Tabasco
    Faised earth mounds and constructed ceremonial centers
    These centers most likely housed the elite
    • There are many known centers such as La Venta and San Lorenzo
    • 29. No form of written language
    • 30. Highly descriptive arts– showing beliefs
    • 31. In art, has 3 levels
    • 32. sky, earth, underworld
    • 33. Sculpture and ceramics depict humans while taking the form of animals
  • Olmecs
    Produced a number of monumental basalt sculptures
    Including colossal heads, altars, and seated figures
    These huge works were transported among the centers
    Heads were from 5 to 12 feet and 5-20 tons
  • 34. Olmecs
    Colossal Head, La Venta
    900-400 BCE
    In Mexico
    Made of Basalt
    Closefitting caps, chin straps, pierced ear
    Each is different, possibly suggesting they were of individuals
  • 35. Colossal Heads from Mesoamerica
  • 36. Comparison
    Roman Patrician: Very realistic, not stylized (unlike the colossal heads)
    Archaic Sculpture: stylized with archaic smile and unrealistic hair texture
  • 37. Teotihuacan
    • About 30 miles northeast of present day Mexico City
    • 38. Largest city in the Americas between 350-650 CE
    • 39. population of 200,00o
  • Teotihuacan
    • Wealth based on trade
    • 40. Trading of obsidian tools and pottery, traded for luxury items such as green feathers (headdresses) and fur of the jaguar
    • 41. City Center was religious and governmental center
    • 42. Elite lived in large palaces; some having 45 rooms
    • 43. Artisans, foreign traders, and peasants had much simpler homes: small rectangle surrounding a court
  • Teotihuacan
    Principle monuments are Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon
    Pyramid of the Sun is the largest
    slightly over 200 feet high and 720 feet at base
    Artists worked in fresco technique: applied pigments on damp plaster
    Painted in layers and was similar to sculpture
    it was flat, angular, and abstract
  • 44. Let’s Compare!
    Pyramid of the Sun
    Not quite as tall as the Egyptian Pyramids
    Series of sloping steps
    The Great Pyramid of Giza
    Similar structure
  • 45. Teotihuacan
    • In the heart of the city is a vast sunken plaza surrounded by temples
    • 46. The plaza could accommodate 60,000 people
    • 47. Its central point was the Temple of the Feathered Serpent
    • 48. 7 tiered structure
    • 49. Slope and panel construction– which is a feature of Teotihuacan architecture
    • 50. This pyramid kept getting enlarged, each time enclosing the previous so like layers of an onion
  • Teotihuacan
    Temple of the Feathered Serpent
  • 51. The Maya
    Preclassic Period, Classic, and Postclassic
    Located in tropical rain forest of the Yucatan
    Developed hieroglyphic writing and had a sophisticated calendar “Maya Record Keeping”
    In favor of low relief carvings
    Artists had high status
  • 52. Mayan
    The society was divided into centers– each had ruler, elite class, nobles and priests, and then farmer-commoners
    Olmec influence
    Tikal= largest Maya city
    North Acropolis :
    Containing royal tombs
  • 53. Mayan
    Present day Mexican state of Chiapas rose in the Classic Period
    Hieroglyphic writings recorded the the beginning of the royal dynasty 431 CE
    Lord Pakal
    Portrait of Lord Pakal found in his tomb
  • 54. Central America
  • 55. Central America
    People lived in extended family groups in towns led by chiefs
    The Diquis culture (700-1500 CE) was a notable example of one of these groups (present day Costa Rica)
    A very war-like people
    Did not focus on architecture or sculpture
    Produced fine featherwork, ceramics, textiles and gold/jade objects
  • 56. Central America
    Shaman with Drum and Snake (13th-16th century, Gold)
    Resides in Costa Rica
    Came with the use of gold an copper-gold alloys in artwork (Metallurgy)
    Used lost-wax casting technique
  • 57. Central America
    Shaman is a small, exquisite pendant-good example of the style and tecnique of Diquis goldwork
    Male figure wearing bracelets, anklets, and a belt with a snake-headed sheath
    He plays a drum while holding the tail of a snake in his teeth and its head in his left hand
    Wavy forms in elaborate reptile costume, inverted triangles on headdress represent bird tails
  • 58. Central America
    Bird and snake imagery important to culture
    Mythology- serpents/crocodiles inhabited lower world, humans and bird a higher one
    Maybe shaman is transforming or performin a ritual?
    Scrolls on side of head represent hearing or ability to understand animals
    Shows a ritual of mediation between earthly and cosmic powers involving music, dance, and costume
  • 59. Central America
    Gold thought to capture the energy and power of the sun (wore to inspire fear)
    Energy used to travel into cosmic realms
  • 60. Compare/Contrast
    Greek Earrings (330-300BCE)
    Lost-wax process
    Often placed on ears of marble statues of goddesses
    2 inches tall
    Drama, swift movement through space
    -Diquis pendant
    -3.25 inches tall
    -Lost- wax casting
    -animal imagery
    -Wavy forms
    -not as realistic
  • 61. South America
  • 62. South America
    The Central Andes: (primarily located in Peru and Bolivia)
    Development of hierarchical societies with diverse artistic traditions
    Area between Andes and Pacific Ocean contains one of the driest deserts in the world
    Life depended on Sea and the rivers flowing from Andes
  • 63. South America
    Earliest evidence of monumental building in Peru during 3rd millennium BCE-- stone-walled structures with sunken central fire pits for burning ritual offerings
    Chief crops included cotton (fishing nets), and gourds (floats)
    Herding and Agriculture became prominent in second millennium BCE
    Irrigation systems, ceremonial complexes
    Spread of pottery and ceramics came with the shift to irrigation agriculture
  • 64. Chavin de Huantar: early site of Chavin style
    Between 1000 and 200 BCE
    Era known as the Early Horizon (first of 3 horizon periods)
    Political and social forces behind Chavin style unknown (possibly religious cult)
    Period of artistic and technical innovation in ceramics, metallurgy, and textiles
    Artifacts found at burial sites (shows importance to the Chavin people of burial and afterlife)
  • 65. Chavin de Huantar
    Site was located on a trade route between coast and Amazon basin
    Chavin art features images of tropical forest animals
    The Raimondi Stone (pictured) is very complex
    Peru, 1000-600 BCE
    Low relief sclupture carved into diorite
    Large headdress (covers entire rectangular surface), staves in each paw
    Frontal, symmetrical, curvilinear design
    Snakes in hair, claws/fangs of a jaguar
    Extra heads
    Human, animal, bird, reptile parts
  • 66. Paracas
    The Paracas culture in southern Peru flourished from about 1000 BCE to 200 CE
    Well known for amazing textiles (wrapped around bodies of dead in cemeteries)
    Art of textiles was and still is one of the most prized types of artwork in the region
    Fine textiles= prestige and wealth
    Production of textiles was an important factor in the domestication of plants (cotton) and animals (llamas)
    Usually included many images of warriors, dancers, and composite creatures (bird people)
  • 67. Paracas
    • Mantle with Bird Impersonators (200 BCE-200 CE)
    • 68. Tiny overlapping stitches
    • 69. Colorful, curvilinear patterns, (some parts have as many as 21 different colors in a single stitch)
    • 70. Amazing effect of clashing and contrasting colors and tumbling figures
  • Nazca
    Nazca culture dominated the south coast of Peru (200 BCE-600 CE)
    Fine fabrics, multicolored pottery-images reminiscent to those of Paracas textiles
    Best known for colossal earthworks (geoglyphs)
    Geoglyphs drew into the earth, created gigantic light stoned images (such as a hummingbird- next slide)
  • 71. Nazca
    (100 BCE- 700 CE)
    Beak is 120 ft long
    Other animals include a whale, monkey, spider, and duck
    Also made abstract patterns of straight, parallel lines that extend up to 12 miles
    Each geoglyph maintained by a clan
    Purpose of them is a mystery
  • 72. Moche
    North coast (Piura Valley to Huarmey Valley, 200 BCE- 600 CE)
    Lords ruled from a ceremonial-administrative center, largest of these is Moche Valle (possibly capital)
    Moche Valley contained the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon
    Moche were exceptional potters and metalsmiths
    Used naturalistically modeled humans, animals, and architectural structures
    Recorded mythical narratives and ritual scenes in art, and on walls/temples
    One ceramic vessel is of a Moche Lord With a Feline (100 BCE- 500 CE)
    Throne-like structure, elaborate headdress, stroking cat- item of luxury, shows high status, buried with people
  • 73. Moche
  • 74. Moche
    Central theme in Moche iconography is the sacrifice ceremony (prisoners captured in battle are sacrificed and several elaborately dressed figures drink their blood)
    Principal figure= Warrior Priest, other important figures= Bird Priest, Priestess
    Possibly an actual Moche ritual by the lords
    Evidence seen from tomb at Sipan (occupant dressed like Warrior Priest) and tomb at San Jose de Moro
  • 75. Moche
    Earspool (Sipan, Peru)
    Depicts 3 Moche warrios
    Central figure made of gold and turquoise
    All 3 have tiny gold earspools
    Gold/turquoise headdresses, crescent shaped knives
    Central figure has nose ornament, gold club, and shield
    Has necklace of owl’s-head beads
    Very detailed
  • 76. North America
  • 77. The Woodland Period
    Spans from approximately 1000 BCE to 1000 CE
    Consists of prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunting and gathering and the temple-mound-building Mississippian cultures in the eastern United States
    The Woodland Period was marked by three distinct traits:
    the manufacture of clay pottery
    semi-permanent villages or settlements
    development of horticulture, plants are now purposefully being cultivated and harvested for food
    During this time period, group territories became smaller and more well-defined
    The population begins to rise steadily
    The Hopewell religion is spread throughout the North American region through the process of trade
  • 78. Adena Tradition
    Spanned from 1000 BCE to 1 CE in the Ohio River Valley area
    Because they were situated on the Ohio River, their arts were able to spread to other areas like New York, Pennsylvania, and southern Illinois
    Although many cultures after it would have burial mounds, the Adena burial mounds are unique in that they vary greatly in size and take a conical shape
    The Adena culture is seen as the precursor to the Hopewell culture by many scholars
    Many pieces of art include shamanistic imagery  humans transforming into indigenous animals
  • 79. North American Northeast: The Hopewell Tradition
    Originated in the Illinois area
    Held superiority in the Midwestern and northeastern sections of the area that would become the United States from 200 BCE to 500 CE
    The Hopewell tradition was not one singular culture or society, but an extensive set of related populations
    Peoples of the Hopewell tradition practiced egalitarianism due to the abundance of resources
    The signature structure of the Hopewell tradition was the burial mound; these burial mounds were more complex than the ones built previously by the Adena culture
    burial complexes could be as large as 100 acres
    The Hopewell tradition also hastened the progress of pottery by introducing a larger variety which were fired to make them more durable
    Due to increased trade, luxury goods like mica and pearls became commonplace in Hopewell art
  • 80.
  • 81. The Process of Pottery Making
    Step 1 – Clay was gathered from eroding riverbanks and mixed with a tempering agent such as sand or crushed shells
    Step 2 – The clay is rolled into long cylinders and then shaped into coils, these coils are then smoothed out by moistening the clay with water and running a stone along the outside of the pot that is being formed
    Step 3 – The pottery is then decorated and the surface treatment is applied to the exterior of the pottery and it is set to dry in the sun
    Step 4 – The pottery was then baked in an extremely hot fire to make the pottery more durable
  • 82. Beaver Effigy Platform Pipe
    Found in the Bedford Mound, Pike County, Illinois
    Hopewell culture
    c. 100-200 CE
    Utilizes pipestone, river pearls, and bone
    Combined realism with stylized simplification of the animal’s form
  • 83. The Mississippian Period
    This period originated in the Mississippi Valley and occurred approximately from 900 CE to 1700 CE
    This era is typified by the construction of large, flat mounds that support a particular structure unlike the burial mounds of the Woodland Period
    During this time, the indigenous people were developing a way to make pottery even more durable through the process of shell tempering which prevented the pottery from shrinking and cracking during the drying and firing process
    Agricultural advancements led to increased dependence on maize crops while the population growth required a system of government to rule the people via a chiefdom
    Mississippians lived in structures built of timber, mud, and thatch, however, the structures were created in a rectangular shape unlike the circular form of the Woodland Period houses
  • 84. Cahokia
    Ancient Native American city located next to the Mississippi River near Collinsville, Illinois
    Built and inhabited between 700 CE – 1400 CE
    Covered a sprawling area of the countryside at its height (1100 CE – 1200 CE) six square miles with a booming population anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000
    The city was supplied by agriculture in the surrounding area  one of the most fertile regions in North America
    the population began to decline in 1200 CE and the site was abandoned by 1400 CE
    late 1600s, the Cahokia Indians settled in the area which is where the village derived its name
  • 85. Construction of Cahokia
    Comprised of 120 earthen mounds within the compound
     68 of which are preserved within the site
    Mounds made entirely of dirt  workers moved over 50 million cubic feet of soil leaving behind ditches called borrow pits
    Built using large baskets estimated between 50 and 60 pounds
    Intentionally selected different soils for the mound to give it internal stability and drainage
    Two Types of Mounds:
    Platform mound – typically supported structures used for political or religious ceremonies
    Conical/Ridge mound – used as burial tombs
    Mathematical, astronomical, and engineering skills were required to construct the city
  • 86. Structures Within Cahokia
    Monk’s Mound:
    The largest earthwork in North America
    1,000 feet in length, 800 feet in width, and 100 feet tall
    Construction started in 950 CE
    Surrounded by a stockade two miles in length with guard towers placed at specific intervals
    Acted as both a physical and psychological barricade between the ruling class and common people
    Built around 1000 CE, these wood posts served as a calendar (mark the equinoxes and summer and winter solstices, observed from the center post)
    The original circle was 410 feet in diameter and was composed of 48 cedar posts
    During excavations, red ochre was found which indicates the poles were painted red
  • 87.
  • 88. North American Southeast: The Florida Glades Culture
    Many distinct regional cultures within the Glades area
    Defined by its pottery and earthworks because the region contains very poor soil with low elevation and wetlands making it very difficult area to inhabit
    Built habitation mounds to serve as a dry place to settle
    The people of the Glades culture survived mainly on hunting and gathering since there was very little arable land
  • 89. Pelican Figurehead
    Created by the Florida Glades culture
    1000 CE
    Wood and paint
    (11.2 x 6 x 8cm)
    Outstretched wings found nearby in excavation
    Might have been attached to ceremonial posts  suggest clan symbols
    The style is simplified and naturalistic
  • 90.
  • 91. The North American Southwest: The Pueblo Culture
    Mostly had influences within the four corners region (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico)
    Because agriculture was usually out of the question in such a deserted climate, the pueblo people would live together and build apartment-like and storied buildings creating massive communities
    Some buildings were constructed to serve as communal food storage, others for religious purposes
    Other cultures in the area adapted and built deep and narrow irrigation systems to accommodate the water shortage
  • 92. Anthropomorphs
    Found in the Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah
    Figures are variously dated
    Archaeologists have dated some to be as early as 1900 BCE and others as late as 300 CE
    Largest figure 8 feet tall
    Consists of pictographs (painted onto the surface of the rock) and petroglyphs (pecked into the rock)
    Subject matter unknown, but most likely depicted rain gods
    The human form is very stylized and stiff  indicative of a divine subject matter
  • 93. Bibliography
    "Morien Institute - Birds On The Pampa - a Tribute to the Work of Maria Reiche on the Nazca Plain." Morien Institute - Skywatching through the Ages Homepage. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    "Raimondi Stone (archaeology) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    -"Quick Study: Woodland Period." LEARN NC. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.-"Cahokia Mounds - The Largest Archeaological Site in America." Legends of America - A Travel Site for the Nostalgic and Historic Minded. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    -"Archaeological Sites." Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    -"Cahokia Mounds - The Largest Archeaological Site in America." Legends of America - A Travel Site for the Nostalgic and Historic Minded. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    -"Adena Culture." Then Again. . . Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    "Olmec Colossal Head." Mystic Unicorn Art, Gifts and Herb Shop. 21 Dec. 2010 <>.
    "American Egypt / Ancient Cities of the Maya." American Egypt / All about Chichen Itza and Mexico's Maya Yucatan. 21 Dec. 2010 <>.
    "Pacal the Great, King of Palenque." " Your Window to Mexico " 21 Dec. 2010 <>.
    "Maya Lady Xok." About Archaeology - The Study of Human History. 21 Dec. 2010 <>.
    "Mississippian Indians." Lycos. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>."The Mayan Calendar | Calendars." Webexhibits. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    "Nazca Lines and Cahuachi Culture - Crystalinks." Crystalinks Home Page. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.
    "Pre-Inca Paracas Culture and Textile, Fabric, Skulls, Geometric Art. Antonio Gutierrez." Geometry Step by Step from the Land of the Incas, Cuzco, Machu Picchu. Web. 21 Dec. 2010. <>.