By Nisha George,Devon
Rush, Taylor Martin, and Abby
•Humans first arrived in the Americas about
30,000 years ago.
•Civilizations with some similar characteristics
rose across North and South America. (The
Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Inca)
•Art was central to the indigenous people’s lives.
Most art pieces had ritual uses.
•The Mexica people were the rulers of the land. (previously
•They rose to prominence during the 15th century through a
series of alliances and royal marriages and began an
aggressive expansion that brought them tribute to transform the
•They were divided into 3 classes: elite
rulers, merchants/artisans, and farmers/laborers.
•Their religion depended on human actions like bloodletting and
human sacrifice rituals.
•Hernan Cortes found Tenochtitlan in 1519, in awe of the
architecture in the middle of the Lake.
A View of the World,
pg. From Codex
view of the people
•the fire god,
•4 directions with color,
bird, and god.
•Blood flows from
•The symbolic circles
The Founding •Skull rack
page from Codex
Mendoza •Great Pyramid
•Idealized and Tlaloc
representation of the
city and its sacred
precinct •sun rose on
•symbol of the city temple, uniting
fire and water
the city into four •During the
parts equinoxes, the
the Temple of
•Aztec Conquests Quetzalcoatl
The Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui
(“She of the Golden Bells”)
from the Sacred Precinct (Templo Mayor)
1469? Mexico City
•Relief at the foot of the Great
•Rope with a skull around to her
• Bells on her cheeks and balls
of down in her hair
•Distinctive ear ornaments
•carved into the side
of a mounted
•symbolic cave into
the mountain; the
womb of the earth
•pit for blood
sacrifices in the heart
of the mountain
•circular room inside
also inside, carved
with a stylized eagle
and jaguar skins
Rock-cut sanctuary, Malinalco
Mexico, 15th century, modern
Goddess, Coatlicue •Necklace of
1487-1520 Basalt, 8’6” sacrificial
•Found near the shouldered
ruins of figure with
Tenochtitlan’s clawed hands
sacred precinct and feet
•A conquistador •the sculpture’s
descrived seeing simple, bold
this statue covered and blocky
with blood inside the forms create a
Temple of single visual
•Skirt of twisted •it would have
snakes that also been painted
form her body originally
The Inca Empire:
· One of the largest states in the world at the beginning of the 16th century
· Stretched across modern day Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile
· It was called the Land of Four Quarters
· Inca Empire began to rapidly expand in the 15th century through
conquest, alliance, and intimidation.
· Had a hierarchical bureaucracy and various forms of labor taxation
· Agriculture was divided into 3 cateragories: those for the god, the ruler
and state, and the local population.
· To move their armies and speed up transport and communication, 23,000
miles of roads were built.
· The Inca kept detailed accounts on knotted and colored cords.
· Using heavy stone hammers, Incan builders created durable stone structures.
· Commoners’ houses and some walls were made of irregular stones that were
carefully put together.
· Certain domestic and religious structures were erected using squared
off, smooth surfaced stones laid in even rows.
· The blocks might have been beveled, cut at an angle, or smoothed into a
continuous flowing surface.
· Inca structures had gabled, thatched roofs.
· Doors, windows, and niches were trapezoid shaped.
Walls of the Temple
of the Sun:
· made of
· bocks are
smoothed into a
Machu Picchu, Peru:
· One of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world.
· The stone buildings located there today, occupy terraces around central plazas, and
narrow agricultural terraces descend into the valley.
· Its temples and carved sacred stones suggest that it had an important religious
· The production of fine textiles is of ancient origin in
· Textiles were one of the primary forms of wealth.
· One kind of labor taxation was the required
manufacture of fibers and cloth.
· Cloth was deemed a fitting offering for the gods.
· Each square in the
tunic shown represents a
miniature tunic, but the
meaning of the individual
patterns is not yet
· The 4-part motifs may
refer to the land of the Four
· The checker board
pattern designated military
officers and royal escorts.
The Fall of the Inca Empire:
· The Spanish, who conquered the Inca in 1532, were
far more interested in the Inca’s vast quantities of gold and
silver than in cloth.
· They melted down whatever gold and silver objects
· The Inca valued gold and silver because they saw in
them symbols of the sun and moon.
· This object escaped the
conquerors’ treasure hunt.
· This was buried as an
· Found near Lake Titicaca
· Thought to have a special
connection with the sun, rain, and
· Dressed in a red tunic and
gold jewelry, this llama passed
through the streets during April
· When the original settlers of this area were gone, new groups began
moving into the Eastern Woodlands.
· These people supported themselves by a combination of hunting and
· They lived in villages and cultivated corn, squash, and beans.
· When the Europeans arrived, the Eastern Woodlands people traded with
the European settlers. They exchanged furs for metal kettles, needles, cloth, and
· Woodland people made wampum, belts and strings of cylindrical purple
and white shell beads. Wampum was used to keep records and exchanged to
· Woodland art focused on personal adornment- tattoos, body paints, and
elaborate dress and quillwork- the quills of porcupine and bird feathers are dyed and
attached to materials in patterns.
· Quill work and basketry were a woman’s art form.
· Basketry is the weaving of reeds, grasses, and other materials to form containers.
The three major techniques are: coiling, twining, and plaiting.
· Beadwork became popular when the woodland artists began to acquire European
· Beadwork became incorporated into reintegration.
Baby Carrier: (23-
· Richly decorated
with symbols of
protection and well-
being, including bands
of antelopes in profiles
and thunderbirds with
their heads turned and
· Exemplifies the
· In contrast to
Delaware bag is
· White line
outline brilliant pink
and blue shaped
· Over time, the woodland people were pushed westward by
Europeans. They settled again in the Great Plains.
· They developed a nomadic lifestyle.
· A distinctive plains culture flourished from about 1700 to
· A light portable building called a tepee was created.
· By 1885, the plains people were outnumbered and out
gunned by Euro-Americans.
Blackfoot Women raising a Tepee: (25-12)
· Frame work of a teepee consisted of a stable frame of three or four long
poles, in a roughly egg-shaped plan.
· The framework was covered with waterproof animal hides.
· Tepees were the property and responsibility of women.
· Men recorded their exploits in symbolic and narrative form in paintings on
The Northwest Coast
the Pacific coast of North America is a region of unusually
peoples of the Northwest Coast – the Tlingit, the Haida, and
the Kwakwaka'wakw (or Kwakiutl)
social rank within and between related families was based on
genealogical closeness to the mythic ancestor
a family derived its name and the right to use certain animals
and spirits as totemic emblems, or crests, from its mythic ancestor
these emblems appeared prominently in Northwest Coast
art, notably in carved house crests and the tall, freestanding poles
erected to memorialize dead chiefs
23-14 Grizzly bear house-partition
screen, from the house of Chief Shakes
of Wrangell, Canada, c. 1840.
Cedar, native paint, and human hair, 15
x 8' – Denver Art Museum
the image of a rearing grizzly
bear painted on the screen is itself made
up of smaller bears and bear heads that
appear in its
ears, eyes, nostrils, joints, paws, and
the images within the image
enrich the monumental symmetrical
design the oval door opening is a
symbolic vagina; passing through it
reenacts the birth of the family from its
the weavers did not use looms;
- Chilkat men created the instead, they hung warp threads from a rod and
patterns, which they drew on twisted colored threads back and forth through them
boards, and women did the to make the pattern
weaving The ends of the warp formed the fringe at
the blankets are made the bottom of the blanket
from shredded cedar bark the small face in the center of the blanket
wrapped with mountain-goat shown here represents the body of a stylized
wool creature, perhaps a sea bear (a fur seal) or a standing
on top of the body are the creature's large
eyes; below it and to the sides are its legs and claws
characteristic of Northwest painting and
weaving, the images are composed of two basic
elements: the ovoid, a slightly bent rectangle with
rounded corners, and the formline, a
continuous, shape-defining line
here, subtly swelling black formlines
23-15 Chilkat Blanket.
define shapes with gentle curves, ovoids, and
Tlingit, before 1928.
rectangular C shapes
Mountain-goat wool and
when the blanket was worn, its two-
shredded cedar bark, 551/8” x
dimensional forms would have become three-
633/4” - American Museum of
dimensional, with the dramatic central figure curving
Natural History, New York
over the wearer's back and the intricate side panels
crossing over his shoulders and chest
Many Native American cultures stage ritual dance ceremonies to call upon
the participants in Northwest Coast dance ceremonies wore elaborate
costumes and striking carved wooden masks
among the most elaborate masks were those used by the Kwakwaka'wakw in
their Winter Ceremony for initiating members into the shamanistic Hamatsa society
the dance reenacted the taming of Hamatsa, a people-eating spirit, and his
three attendant bird spirits
magnificent carved and painted masks transformed the dancers into Hamatsa
and the bird attendants, who searched for victims to eat
strings allowed the dancers to manipulate the masks so that the beaks opened
and snapped shut with spectacular effect
23-16 Edward S. Curtis.
During this ceremony the masked bird
dancers appear. Snapping their beaks, these
masters of illusion enter the room
backward, their masks pointed up as though
the birds are looking skyward. They move
slowly counter-clockwise around the floor.
At each change in the music they
crouch, snap their beaks, and let out their
wild cries of Hap! Hap! Hap! Essential to
the ritual dances are the huge carved and
painted wooden masks, articulated and
Attributed to Willie operated by strings worked by the dancers.
Seaweed. Among the finest masks are those by Willie
Kwakwaka'wakw Bird Seaweed, a Kwakwaka'wakw chief.
Mask, from Alert
Island, Canada. Prior to
1952. Cedar wood, cedar
bark, feathers, and fiber, 10
x 72 x 15”
The Native American peoples of the southwest include the
Pueblo (village-dwelling) groups and the Navajo
The Pueblo groups are heirs to the ancient Anasazi and
Hohokam cultures, which developed a settled, agricultural way of
life around 550 CE
The Navajo, who moved into the region about the 11th
century or later, developed a semisedentary way of life based on
agriculture and, after the introduction of sheep by the
Both groups' arts reflect the adaptation of traditional forms
to new technologies, new mediums, and the influences of the
dominant American culture that surrounds them
This it located in north-central New Mexico
Taos once served as a trading center between Plains and Pueblo peoples
it burned in 1690 but was rebuilt about 1700 and has often been modified
“Great houses,” multifamily dwellings, stand on either side of Taos
Creek, rising in a stepped fashion to form a series of roof terraces. The houses border a
plaza that opens toward the neighboring mountains. The plaza and roof terraces are
centers of communal life and ceremony
23-19. Maria Montoya Martinez and Julian
Martinez. Blackware storage jar, from
Sam Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico. c.
1942. Ceramic. Height 183/4”
pottery traditionally was a woman's
art among Pueblo peoples, whose wares were
made by coiling and other hand-building
techniques, then fired at low temperature in
inspired by prehistoric blackware pottery that was unearthed at nearby
archaeological excavations, she and Maria Montoya Martinez's husband, Julian
Martinez, developed a distinctive new ware decorated with matte (nongloss) black forms
on a lustrous black background
Maria made pots covered with a slip that was then burnished
using additional slip, Julian painted the pots with designs that combined
traditional Pueblo imagery and the then fashionable Euro-American Art Deco style
after firing, the burnished ground became a lustrous black and the slip painting retained a
23-20. Pablita Velarde.
Koshares of Taos, from Santa
Clara Pueblo, New Mexico.
Watercolor on paper, 137/8 x
-- Velarde's painting
combines bold, flat colors and
a simplified decorative line
with European perspective to
produce a kind of Art Deco
Koshares of Taos illustrates a moment during a ceremony celebrating the
winter solstice when koshares, or clowns, take over the plaza from the kachinas – the
supernatural counterparts of animals, natural phenomena like clouds, and geological
features like mountains – who are central to traditional Pueblo religion
-- Kachinas become manifest in the human dancers who impersonate them
during the winter solstice ceremony, as well as in the small figures known as kachina
dolls that are given to children
The Navajos: Weaving
-Navajo women are renowned for their skill as weavers
-According to Navajo mythology, the universe itself is a kind of weaving, spun by Spider Woman out
of sacred cosmic materials
-Spider woman taught the art of weaving to Changing Woman (mother earth figure) who taught the
Spider Woman Changing Woman Navajo Women
-simple horizontal stripes
-white, black, and brown colors
-Mid 19th Century: developed a new technique of unraveling the fibers from commercially
manufactured and dyed blankets and reusing them in their own work
The Navajos: Sand Paintings
-Sand paintings are made to the accompaniment of chants by shaman-singers in the course of
healing and blessing ceremonies and have great sacred significance.
-Paintings depict mythic heroes and events
-To make them, the singer dribbles pulverized colored stones, pollen, flowers, and other natural
colors over a hide or sand ground
-The rituals are intended to restore harmony to the world and so to achieve cures
-They are not meant for public display and are destroyed by nightfall of the day on which they are
*In 1919, a respected shaman-singer named Hosteen Klah began to incorporate sand-painting
images into weavings, breaking with the traditional prohibition against making them permanent.
-many Navajos took offense at Klah both for recording the sacred images and for doing
so in a woman’s art form
-Klah’s work was ultimately accepted because of his great skill and prestige
- sand painting
- depicts a part of the Navajo creation myth in which
the Holy People divide the world into four parts
and create the Earth Surface People (humans)
-bring forth corn, beans, squash and tobacco, the four
N S -Holy People surround the image
-A male-female pair of humans stands in each of the
four quarters defined by the central cross
-The guardian figure of Rainbow Maiden encloses the
scene on three sides
Whirling Log Ceremony W
-The open side represents the east
5’5” x 5’10”
Navajo, c. 1925
• Canadian Haida artist
• Sought to sustain and revitalize the traditions of Northwest Coast art in his work
• Trained as a wood carver, painter, and jeweler
• Reid revived the art of carving dugout canoes and totem poles in the Haida
homeland of Haida Gwaii- “Islands of the People”-known on maps today as the
Queen of Charlotte Islands
• Late in life he began to create large-scale sculpture in bronze. With their black
patina, these works recall tradional Haida carvings in argillite, a shiny black stone
• Reid viewed as a metaphor for modern Canada’s multicultural society
• Depicts a collection of figures from the natural and mythic worlds struggling to paddle forward in a canoe
• The dominant figure in the center is a shaman in a spruce-root basket hat and Chilkat blanket holding a
speaker’s pole, a staff that gives him the right to speak with authority
• The place reserved for the chief in a war canoe, is the Bear. The Bear faces backward rather than
forward, however, and is bitten by the Eagle, with formline-patterned wings
•The Eagle, in turn, is bitten by the Seawolf. The Eagle
and the Seawolf, together with the man behind
them, nevertheless continue paddling.
•Steering the canoe, is the Raven, the trickster in Haida
•The Raven, assisted by Mousewoman, the traditional
guide and escort of humans in the spirit realms
•On the other side are the Bear mother and her
twins, the Beaver, and the Godfish Woman.
•According to Reid, the work represents a
“mythological and environmental lifeboat,” where “the
entire family of living things…whatever their
differences,…are paddling together in one
The Spirit of Haida Gwaii
Bill Reid boat, headed in one direction.”
Bronze; 13’ x 20’
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
• b. 1940
• Born on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Reservation in western Montana and is
• Combines traditional and contemporary forms to convey political and social messages
• Quick-to-See created paintings and collages of great formal beauty that also confronted
viewers with their own, perhaps unwitting, stereotypes
• As Gerrit Henry wrote in Art in America (November 2001), Smith “looks at things Native and
national through bifocals of the old and the new, the sacred and the profane, the divine and
•A stately canoe floats over a richly colored and
textured field (which on closer inspection
proves to be a dense collage of clippings from
Native American newspapers)
•Wide swatches and rivulets of
red, yellow, green, and white cascade over the
•On a chain above the painting is a collection of
Native American cultural artifacts-
tomahawks, beaded belts, feather headdresses-
and memorabilia for sports teams like the
Atlanta Braces, the Washington Redskins, and
the Cleveland Indians, anmes that many Native
Americans find offensive.
•Surely, the painitng suggests, Native
Trade (Gifts for Trading Land with White People)
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Americans could trade these goods to retrieve
5’ x 14’2” their lost lands, just as European settlers traded
Salish-Cree-Shoshone 1992 trinkets with Native Americans to acquire the
lands in the first place
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