Native South American Art

  1. Cloth & Clay This is a special web exhibit, an exploration of art, culture and history through the ceramic and textile objects of the ancient and contemporary peoples of North and South America. There are four major sections: a. the artwork itself with information about the image and the culture; b. learn how the art was made; c. explore the landscapes and resources that shaped the artworks, and d. travel back in time to an ancient marketplace where many of the artworks would have been sold. Brought to you by the Textile Museum of Canada and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art

  2. The Art of Being Kuna The Kuna are a Native American people who live in Panama. For centuries, their women have sewn molas, a multi-layered decorative artwork for clothes. This web exhibit shows 32 examples of molas collected in the early 1900's with explanations from Kuna women living today. This is a bright, colorful, informative exhibit.

  3. Latin American and Spanish Colonial Art This section of the New Orleans Museum of Art's Collection is small but very interesting. There are eight fascinating artworks with excellent explanations.

  4. Machu Picchu: Lost City of the Incas The beautiful city of Machu Picchu was the heart of the Incan Empire in the area that is now Peru, South America. This was the home of the Children of the Sun, cradled on a narrow high mountain ridge of the Andes. Learn how this city shows the legacy of thousands of years of Andean cultures which fostered sophisticated architects, engineers, astronomers and artists.

  5. The Incas Art and Culture Jorge Ruiz, a native of Ecuador, South America, has assembled this web site as a tribute to his ancestors. It has sections on the pottery, gold and masonry art of the Inca civilization which thrived for hundreds of years in the western section of South America until the Spanish conquistadors wiped out the empire. There is also a history section, timeline and links to other sites.

  6. Mystic Places: Nazca Lines This is a very interesting article on three theories explaining the large images of birds, monkeys and lizards carved into the deserts of Peru over 2000 years ago. Are they for religious worship, astronimical observations or an irrigation system? Check out the fascinating illustrations.

  7. The Temple of PalenqueThe author of this web site describes this ancient site as: "Vast, mysterious and enchanting, the ruined city of Palenque is considered to be the most beautifully conceived of the Mayan city-states and one of the loveliest archaeological sites in the world." See for your self and learn about the history of the palaces and spiritual sites of this jungle city.

  8. Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraiture From ancient Moche portrait jars to searing contemporary self-portraits, this online gallery explores an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, San Antonio Museum and El Museo del Barrio in New York City. Retratos celebrates the rich history and culture of Latin America by showcasing the region's powerful portrait tradition.

  9. Cave Paintings of Cueva Pintada are in an isolated area of Western Mexico. This article from Archeology Magazine follows the discovery and mystery of the hundreds of human and animal figures that cover many cave walls. There are great photos - click to enlarge for great details.

  10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wonderful feature, the Timeline of Art History. There are hundreds of beautifully illustrated articles on special topics organized chronologically, or from the oldest to the newest, as art developed around the world. Here are topics and artworks of interest for this period of art history.

    • Textiles of the Andes Mountains Even after the European conquest, weavers continued to make bold, colorful fabrics.
    • Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon In 600 AD the great ancient city of Teotihuacan controlled central Mexico. This site links you to three others about the architecture and mural paintings and their religious connections.
    • Aztec Stone Scuplture The Aztec artists sculptured monumental images of their gods and goddesses for temples and public spaces. They portray the Aztec ideals of female beauty and male strength.
    • La Venta: Stone Sculpture The Olmecs turned massive boulders into thrones, altars, stelae and colossal heads, each with distinctinve personalities.
    • Jade in Mesoamerica Here are three articles and beautiful examples of precious blue-green jade sculpture, jewelry and ritual objects
    • Valdivia Figurines The ancient people living along the coast of Ecuador created the earliest sculptures of human figures in the Americas around 4,000-3,500 BC.
    • Gold of the Indies This article shows you four stunning examples of gold jewelry that survived the European explorers greed.
    • Monte Alban Monte Alban was a small but powerful city in southern Mexico from 500 - 200 BC. This links you to three articles about its art and architecture.


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