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Art Appreciation Chapter 15

Chapter 15 notes on Art of the Americas

Lora Davis

on 13 April 2018

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Transcript of Art Appreciation Chapter 15

Chapter 15
Art of the Americas

According to your course text, the traditional view had been that humans arrived in North and South America sometime during the last Ice Age when glaciers lowered the ocean level and exposed a land bridge between Asia and North America.
At this time...Paleolithic hunter-gathers crossed over and began to spread out in to uninhabited continents . . .
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua.
Prehistoric groups in this area are characterized by agricultural villages and large ceremonial and politico-religious capitals. A significant number of pre-Colombian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.
This area includes some of the most complex and advanced culture's of the Americas, including the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Aztec.
Archaeologist have divided Mesoamerican history into three broad periods...
Preclassic (Formative) 1500 BCE - 250 CE
Classic 250-900 CE (the early view of scholars is this was the Golden Age...think of the Greeks...this view has since changed with more information)
this is thought of as the time when the Maya erected
stone monuments.
Post-Classic 900-1521 CE
Cities of MesoAmerica
~ People of the Americas developed an agrarian or farming way of life.
~ They planted and harvested corn, beans, squash, potatoes, tobacco, cacao,
tomatoes, and avocados.
As the growth of agriculture continued, so did population growth
and the rise of hierarchical societies, cities and towns
such as Teotihuacan (tey-tee-wha-can)
the Aztec capital.

From the region extending from Central Mexico to northern Central America,
the people of Mesoamerica developed:
a complex and accurate calendar
a sophisticated system of mathematics

Central and South American peoples
advanced metallurgy which produced exquisite gold, silver and copper jewelry

American Southwest, Native American people
created apartment-like dwellings, cliff dwellings
elaborate irrigation systems with canals
The Mesoamerican people
creative and inventive...
The European's came in the 15th century.
Their presence had a dramatic and lasting impact on the Native Mesoamerican people.
During this time, the highly advanced Aztec and Inca civilizations were destroyed.
Indigenous groups in the North American Plains lost their land
and their populations decreased.
Despite all this...
many traditions and culture still remain today.

**Why and how do you think this is the case?
The Olmecs
The Olmecs were the major Mesoamerican Civilization.

they emerged during the Preclassic period and spread throughout Mesoamerica
they cleared land and planted crops
they raised earth mounds which were used as religious and political centers
they created monumental works of basalt sculpture such as the colossal heads, altars and seated figures
evidence has been found that the Olmecs traded through out Mesoamerica,
importing goods such as jade and iron ore.
writing and calender systems appeared around 600-500BCE
in areas
of strong Olmec influence.
Colossal Head
Height- 5 to 12'
Weight- 5-20 tons
Seated Female Figure with mirror ornament
Crawling Baby

These hollow ceramic babies were near life size.

The Olmec civilization is the only ancient civilization which celebrated the human baby.
These figures were masterpieces of ceramic technology constructed in the simple procedure of coil and slab.
Works were cooked in an open fire and burnished with a kaolin slip.

Some have incised or cut symbols on them
which may indicate a clan or family.
The Maya people lived in southern Mesoamerica which include
the Yucatan peninsula.
(Present day Guatemala, Belize and western Honduras and El Salvador)
The Maya society was divided into competing centers, each with a hereditary ruler, and an elite class of nobles and priests
supported by a large class of farmer/commoners.

The Maya built pyramids, temples, palaces
and administrative structures (town halls) in populated areas.
The Maya

One of the most renowned iconographic monuments in the Maya World
is the Temple of the Inscriptions.
The tomb was discovered between 1949 and 1958.
The Temple of Inscriptions is layed out
as aa nine level step pyramid.
The nine levels represent the belief that the unseen world consisted of nine levels.

The Temple of Inscriptions
(Tomb of Lord Pakal)
Temple of the Inscriptions
Portrait of Lord Pakal from his tomb
His portrait reveals the Maya ideal of beauty...
sloping forehead
elongated skull
(babies heads were bound to shape their skulls)
a large curved nose
full lips
Teotihuacan (ta o ti wau con)
City of the Gods
Teotihuacan is located approximately 30 miles northeast of present day Mexico
Teotihuacan emerged as a significant center of commerce and manufacturing
covering 9 square miles and had a population of 150,000.
Worship consisted of many deities among those were the Rain or Storm God and the Feathered Serpent
Principal structures include the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon
Art is characterized by flat, angular, abstract styles
Pyramid of the Moon
Pyramid of the Sun
The Aztecs
By the end of the 15 century, Maya civilization was in decline and it was the Aztecs who emerged as the central figures in Mexico.
After nomadic wondering, the Aztec eventually settled in the Basin of Mexico.
The Aztec society believed in gods and goddesses.
offered sacrifices and practiced ritual blood letting
during the reconsecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 84,400 prisoners over the course of four days...this number is thought to logistically impossible...the realistic number is thought to be about 2000.

The Aztec Triple Alliance, also known as the Aztec Empire,
was an alliance of three Aztec city-states: Tenochtitlan; Texcoco ; and Tlacopan.
and would, in the next 100 years, come to dominate the Valley of Mexico and extend its power to both the Gulf of Mexico.
Over this period, Tenochtitlan gradually became the dominant power in the alliance.
During the Spanish conquest, all Aztec books were destroyed however later Aztec scribes appear in codices (manuscripts) created after the conquest.
Codices (Manuscripts)
Codex Mendoza
First page of a manuscript prepared for the Spanish viceroy in 1540s
idealized representation of the city of Tenochtitlan
an eagle is standing on a prickly pear cactus (which was the symbol of the city) which is center of the page emphasising the importance of the symbol.
waterways surround the city which is divided into four quarters which represent wards shown by the seated figures
the warriors at the bottom represent early Aztec conquests
Central America
Central Americans lived in family groups headed by a chief
The Diguis culture emerged in what is now present day Costa Rica.
this culture engaged in warfare with each other on a constant basis
Arts include: featherwork, ceramics, textiles and gold objects
Metalurgy, using copper and gold was widespread throughout Central America
Gold was believed to have energy and power.
The Spherical Facts
In Southern Costa Rica, there are a vast number of unusual spherical stone artifacts! These Giant Stone Spheres ranging in size from mere inches to yards (or meters) in diameter. Hundreds of these have been found, and many more likely remain buried beneath the jungle to this day!
No one has an exact number of those that have been found and unearthed, but certainly they were in the hundreds, or how many remain.
Of all the existing remnants of Costa Rica's Precolumbian cultures, none are more mysterious than these stone spheres! Principally because we have few clues of their origin, and fewer still of their intended use.
They are generally found in the Diquis Delta region, which covers the southern half of Costa Rica. These near perfectly shaped spheres of granite, some as large as a tall person and others as small as a grapefruit, were dotted throughout the area.
Stone Spheres
South America (present day Peru and Bolivia)
Terrain is varied from the snow cropped Andes to the
rainforest of the Amazon basis
Architecture ranged from earth mounds (earthworks) and plazas to multiroom structures with sunken fire pits for ritual offerings.
geoglyph of a hummingbird, Peru 100BCE-700CE
Geoglyphs (earthern designs created on a large scale)
were meant to be seen from an ariel perspective
how were they made???
a design was drawn into the earth by removing a layer of dark gravel
exposing the light soil underneath and edging the outline in stone.
The purpose is unknown.
The Moche Culture
The Moche lived on the northcoast of Peru
they ruled from administrative centers
they were exceptional potters and metalsmiths...subject matter included mythological narrative and ritual scenes
used their expertise of metals to create decorative
developed ceramic molds which allowed for mass production of items...where have you seen this before?? maybe printing...
by creating mass produced items this allowed for the making of many identical images and large quanities which could be traded
As before, this culture performed ritual sacrifice of humans.
The Inca...the land of
4 quarters

Three thousand feet above the Urubamba Valley of Peru, stretch two mountains, Machu Picchu (Old Mountain) and Huayna (also spelled Wayna and Wina) Picchu (Young Mountain). On a cloud-draped ridge connecting the two peaks lies the magnificent site of Machu Picchu, one of the architectural wonders of the world. Machu Picchu was a summer house estate of the unifying king of the Inca civilization, Pachacuti (also spelled Pachakuteq). Pachacuti lived from AD 1438-1471, and in addition to being the first king of the Inca empire, he and his architects are responsible for the architectural style commonly identified with the Inca civilization.
The Inca empire was the largest state in Pre-Columbian Andes mountains
the Incas occupies what is present day Ecuador, Peru, Boliva and northern Chile
acquired land through conquest, alliance and intimidation [does this sound like a reality show that you know]
art work included textiles (not gender specific) made from wool (alpaca) and cotton and the cloth was woven on a simple back-strap loom
garments were woven with symbolic messages and draped around the statues...patterns and designs identified a person's ethnic identity and social rank
the empire spoke various languages and had various different cultures
How do you keep an empire together???
simple....taxiation + labor = happy people (or at least they think they are happy)
The Inca built nearly 25,000 miles of roads with lodgings spaced only a day apart
Since travel was by foot and pack animals...this was important
back strap loom
The Inca empire was conquered by
Pisarro in 1532
North America
Before the 15th century, much of America was sparsely populated most were nomadic hunter/gathers but by the end 1BCE agriculture was adopted by many people.
Communal living around a central earthen mound
Artifacts such as masks, animals and birds heads have been found...
these may have been used as furniture posts or outdoor post ornamentation
Mound Builders
In the fertile vallies of Ohio Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri, we find monumental earthworks.
1. Serpent Mound- 800BC
2. Monks Mounds served as tombs and a bases for palaces, temples and an astrological observatory
We think of the Hohokam tribe (200BCE-1200CE) when we think of the southwest.
The Hohokam built large scale irrigation for the arid conditions of the west...in what is now the four corners region (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, N.Mexico) this irrigation allowed for settlements
In the Rio Grande areas, they began to build elaborate, multi-storied sturctures with rooms for special purposes such as communial food storage which the Spainards called pueblos
Taos Pueblo
Chaco Canyon
The Anasazi are a cultural group of people who are ancestors of the modern Pueblo community. This civilization is best known for the sandstone and adobe quarters they built along cliff walls in their settled areas.
Eastern Woodland and Great Plains
Eastern Woodland Culture
The Indians in the Eastern Woodland Culture lived east of the Plains Indians. At that time much of the land between the Mississippi River and the east coast was covered with forest. These Indians, like the Indians of the other cultures depended on the natural resources around them for all of their basic needs. Because these Indians lived in the forests, they were called the Eastern Woodland Indians. Their food, shelter, clothing, weapons, and tools came from the forests around them. They lived in villages near a lake or stream. There were many diverse groups within the Eastern Woodland People. The most well known were the Iroquois, and the Cherokee nations
The Iroquois Indians lived in wigwams and longhouses. Wigwams were made by bending young trees to form the round shape of the home. Over this shape pieces of tree bark were overlapped to protect the Indians from bad weather. Over the bark a layer of thatch, or dried grass, was added. A small hole from the top allowed smoke from the fires to escape. Beds were matting covered with animal skins.
Longhouses were long rectangular homes. Longhouses were made by building a frame from saplings, or young trees. They were then covered with bark sewn together. There was a long hallway with rooms on both sides. Sleeping platforms, covered with deerskin, lined each wall. There were also shelves for storing baskets, pots, and other things. Several families would live in the long house, but the families were related to each other. The Iroquois built log walls all around their villages. The wall had only one opening. They could quickly close this opening if their enemies came near
The Plains Indians lived in the area from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico. The most important tribes were the Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Comanche. The plains area was hotter than 100 degrees in the summer, and could drop to 40 degrees below zero with heavy snows in the winter. The region was so dry that when it rained it often flooded. The rolling land was covered with grassland and a few mountains.
The Nomadic Plains Indians developed a light, portable dwelling known as a tepee. The tepee was study and could withstand wind, dust and the rain of the prairies. Hides were covered with a framework of poles forming a conical shape that leaned slightly.
Plains Quillwork
Porcupine quilling is an ancient Native American art used particularly among East Coast and Plains tribes. Indian quillwork involved softening and dying stiff porcupine quills and weaving them onto leather or birchbark. The most stunning examples of porcupine quill artistry were the Plains Indian war shirts, each of which would take a skilled quillworker more than a year to embroider. Medicine bags, moccasins, jewelry, birchbark boxes, and baskets were other crafts frequently quilled in the past. Today, Native American quillwork embroidery is nearly a lost art. Porcupine quills are difficult to work with, and quilled leather is more difficult to take care of than beaded leather.
The Northwest Coast
The Northwest Coastal Indians lived in what is now Alaska along the Pacific Ocean down the coast to Northern California. This was a rugged strip of land with many small islands, deep inlets, and narrow beaches. In many places, mountains rise to the sea. Thick forests of spruce, cedar, and fir dominate the area supplying and endless supply of wood. Many rivers and streams cross the land. By the 1750’s more than 100,000 Indians lived in this area because it was richer in natural resources than any other area of North America.
Most villages consisted of large rectangular houses. Each housed 30 to 40 people. They were made by covering large beams with planked sides gabled in the north. The posts were often decorated with carved figures. The earth floors were divided by woven mats into family units
Northwest Coast painters preferred the colors of black, white and red...later adding yellow and blue-green
Pacific Northwest Native Indian Art Carvings
The Aztec Calendar
The Aztec calendar, is the calendar system that was used by the Aztecs as well as other Pre-Columbian peoples of central Mexico. It was only one of the several Mesoamerican calendars.
The calendar consisted of a 365-day year count calendar and a 260-day ritual day count cycle. These two cycles together formed a 52 year "century," sometimes called the "calendar round." The year count calendar is considered to be the agricultural calendar, since it is based on the sun, and the day count calendar is considered to be the sacred calendar.
Colossal Olmec Head
Archaeological Sites of Pre-Columbian Mexico
This view has been challenged by recent archaeological evidence suggesting various other possibilities such additional land connections with Europe
and additionally
Pacific Islanders sailing to the coast of Chile.
How did settlement
of the Americas happen?
Interesting theories right...
but what do we know?
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