Native American Art Nov. 20 - 29


Native American Art covers cultures in North, Central and South America before significant influences from European cultures.

Click here for the PDF of the handout Common Characteristics of The Art of Native America

PowerPoint presentations from class:

  1. Native American Art Part One November 20 South America

  2. Native American Art Part Two November 27 Central America

  3. Native American Art Part Three November 29 North America

Click here to print out the slides from the presentations. Each is a PDF file formatted with six slides per page.

  1. PDF for Native American Art 1 PPT November 20

  2. PDF for Native American Art 2 PPT November 27

  3. PDF for Native American Art 3 PPT November 29

Required Readings:

  1. Moche Decorated Ceramics Homework! November 20. Moche society flourished on the north Peruvian coastal desert between the first and the eighth centuries A.D. Moche skilled ceramists produced a great variety of exquisitely decorated vessels. The decoration is sometimes painted on the smooth surface of vessels; other times it is tridimensional, forming the vessel shape itself.

  2. The Lost Incan Empire Homework! November 20. This PBS special from NOVA ia a concise description of the rise and destruction of the great Incan Empire (1438 - 1530). Manchu Pichu gives us a glimpse of the engineering expertise of a ritual Incan sacred city.

  3. Dualism in Andean Art Homeowrk! November 20. Dualism is deeply rooted in Andean artistic traditions. Subtly or clearly expressed in art, opposite doubles and mirror images reflect the ancient heritage of symbolic dualism in the ideologies, world visions, and social structures of Andean people. Eight artworks in gold, ceramics and textiles are spectacular examples of dualism.

  4. Ancient American Jade Homework! November 27. Its compact structure, hardness, and admirable surface gleam when polished recommended jade for works of special status.

  5. Teotihuacan: Pyramids of the Sund and the Moon Homework! November 27. The Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, echoing the shape of the mountains surrounding the valley, served as focal points for Teotihuacan's urban layout from the 200 BC - 650 AD.

  6. Tenochtitlan: Templo Mayor Homework! November 27. The Templo Mayor (Main Temple) in Tenochtitlan, capital of the mighty Aztec empire, was located in the center of the city, where the most important ritual and ceremonial activities in Aztec life took place. At the time of the Spanish conquest in 1521, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was among the largest cities in the world, with perhaps as many as 200,000 inhabitants.

  7. Aztec Stone Sculpture Homework! November 27. Aztec stone sculpture is the culmination of a long Mesoamerican tradition in the carving of stone, from ordinary volcanic rock to highly prized semi-precious stones such as jade, into objects and monuments of all sorts. The tradition began with the Olmec peoples of the Gulf Coast in the second millennium B.C., if not earlier.

  8. Great Serpent Mound Homework! November 29. Effigy mounds, earthworks in the shape of animals and birds, were raised in North America in areas that now correspond to parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio. One of the greatest is in Adams County, Ohio, just east of Cincinnati.

  9. Beauty Surrounds Us Homework! November 29. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian created this survey of decorative arts with highlights from the major native cultures of North and South America.

  10. Chahokia Homework! November 29. Wikipedia gives an overview of the history of the great city of Chahokia and Mississipian culture that built it. You are to read the introduction and sections 2, 3, 4 and 8.

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Additional Resources:

  1. Birds of the Andes Birds were precious resources in the economy of Andean societies. Merchants traded brilliantly colored parrot and macaw feathers in long-distance networks connecting the Amazonian rainforest, the Cordillera, and the remote Pacific coast, where they adorned the sumptuous garments of rulers and kings. The prominence of birds in art reflects their importance in mythologies and ritual performances.

  2. Tenochtitlan Tenochtitlan was a city of great wealth, obtained through the spoils of tribute from conquered regions. Of astounding beauty and impressive scale, its towering pyramids were painted in bright red and blue, and its palaces in dazzling white.

  3. Online Exhibitions The National Museum of the American Indian has thrity-three online exhibitions, some concentration on one artist and others exploring a theme, such as horses in art.

  4. First American Art The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art is organized by theme. Most artworks have descriptions of how the artworks were created and why.

  5. Identity By Design This extensive web site is all about Native American women's dresses. You will see antique and modern dresses as you learn from contemporary artists how these exquisite artworks were created.

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