Only 500 years ago where the huge megalopolis of Mexico City sprawls today, there was a large, shallow freshwater lake: Lake Texcoco. On the largest of the many islands in this lake there was the Aztec capital of Techochtitlan which was conquered and largely destroyed by the Spanish in 1521.
In the center of the city was the Great Temple, a temple-pyramid honoring the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli and the local rain god Tlaloc. It symbolized the victory of Huitzilopochtli over his sister and 400 brothers, who had plotted to kill their mother. The myth signifies the rise of the sun at dawn and the suns battle with the forces of darkness, the stars and moon.
Techochtitlan was laid out on a grid plan in quarters and wards, reminiscent of Teotihuacán.
Stylistic attributes The relief has a complicated composition and a dreadful, yet formal, beauty. Within the circular space, the designs carefully balanced, richly detailed components are placed so that they seem to have a slow turning rhythm. The carving is on a single level, a smoothly even, flat surface raised from the flat ground. Huitzilopochtli chasing away his brothers and dismembering Coyolxauhqui, the moon goddess.
Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan, "The Mother of Gods is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war.
Quipu was a record-keeping device made of fiber with a main cord and other knotted threads hanging perpendicularly off it. The color and position of each thread, as well as the kind of knot and location, recorded numbers and categories of things (people, llamas, crops).
Clothing communicated the social status of the person wearing the garment. Some believe that bands of small squares of repeated abstract designs in Inkan clothing had political meaning, connoting membership in particular social groups. Such motifs completely covered the Inka rulers tunics, perhaps to indicate his control over all such groups.
The major significance of Machu Picchu is that it is completely invisible from the valley below. The accommodation of its architecture to the landscape is so complete that Machu Picchu seems almost a natural part of the mountain ranges that surround it.
The Temple of the Sun in Cuzco was constructed and decorated as the stones were laid in regular horizontal courses. The interior was veneered with sheets of gold, silver, and emeralds. The remaining hewn stones, precisely fitted and polished, form a curving semi-parabola and were set for flexibility in earthquakes.
Kiva The spiritual center of Anasazi life, the male council house. They were decorated with elaborate mural paintings representing deities. Anastazi The dominant culture of the American Southwest during the centuries preceding the arrival of the Europeans. They built great architectural complexes like Chaco Canyon and Cliff Palace. Katsina Benevolent supernatural spirit personifying natural elements and living in mountains and water sources.
The purpose of Navajo sand painting was that the temporary paintings, constructed to the accompaniment of prayers and chants, are an essential part of ceremonies for curing disease. Three stylistic characteristics of sand paintings: Created from natural materials such as corn pollen, charcoal, sand and varicolored powdered stones. The paintings are destroyed in the process of the ritual. Highly stylized: formed by simple curves, straight lines, right angles, and serial repetition.
In 1918 Maria Martinez and her husband, San Ildefonso Pueblos, invented black-on- black ware that was compatible with contemporary Art Deco style. It became highly collectible. She signed her name with her neighbors names on the pots so that they might share in her good fortune.
The function of a Chilkat blanket was they are robes worn over the shoulders. Alaskan Tlingit men designed them They were prestige items of ceremonial dress during the 19 th century. Some recurrent stylistic characteristics found in objects created by the historic inhabitants of the Northwest Coast: Symmetry and rhythmic repetition Schematic abstraction of animal motifs Eye designs Regular swelling and thinning line
Face: The spirit of the north wind Hoop: The universe Paired human hands: The wearers power to attract animals for hunting Rattling appendages: The spirits voice White spots: Snowflakes
Prior to 1830, artists painted tipis, tipi linings, and buffalo-skin robes with geometric and stiff figural designs. After 1830, they gradually introduced naturalistic scenes, often of war exploits, in styles adapted from those of visiting European artists.
The pipe, painted buffalo robe, and bear claw necklace shown in Bodmers portrait of Two Ravens are symbolic of his affiliations and military accomplishments, his biography that could be read easily by neighboring Native Americans.
Two art forms of Plains Indians that flourished during the so-called reservation period. Beadwork by women. Painting in ledger books by men.
Gateway of the Sun Tiwanaku, Bolivia ca. 375-700 stone 9 ft. 10 in. high
Bridge-spouted vessel with flying figures from Nasca River Valley, Peru ca. 50-200 painted ceramic approximately 5 1/2 in. high
Look carefully at the figure of Coatlicue shown on page 902 and FIG. 30-4, and write at least one page analyzing it. Use the following terms: material and technique; form and composition; line and pattern; mass and volume. Here are some questions that might help you with your analysis, but do not be limited by them. How large is the figure? Do you think the figure was designed to be seen frontally or from the side? What material was used to create it and how might the material have influenced the form? Carefully describe each part, starting from the head and working down. What type of creature might have served as a model for each part? Note the patterns that the artist has created, and observe which seem to be derived from the creatures that inspired it. What do you think the sculpture was intended to signify, and how might the various parts have helped to put across that meaning?