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Art of the Americas After 1300

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1 Art of the Americas After 1300
Aztec, Inca, Eastern Woodlands and The Great Plains By Julian Sanchez

2 Foundations of Civilizations in the Americas
Humans first arrived in the W. Hemisphere between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago. By 12,000 years ago humans had spread over both N. and S. America, and developed a settled agricultural way of life. In the region that is now the S.E. United States, urban societies with monumental architecture and elaborate artistic traditions developed. The civilizations that arose in Mesoamerica, shared writing, a calendar system, ritual ball game, deities , and religions. Religious practices included blood and human sacrifices. The earliest Mesoamerican civilization was the Olmec which flourished from BCE.

3 Continued The Mesoamerican classical period lasted from about ce, which was dominated by two cultures – the Maya and Teotihuacan. During the Classical Period hundreds of cities were built, monumental sculptures created, and hieroglyphical records of their astronomy was developed. The Maya civilization ranged from S. Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and N.W. Honduras. The City of Teotihuacan exerted widespread influence that brought about new forms cultures and government. The Aztecs soon settled down in the Valley of Mexico, while the Inca dominated the Andean region by the end of the fifteenth century. The people of what is now the S.E. United States adopted a settled way of life by the end of the second millennium, and began making monumental earthworks by BCE. what about box entitled “craft or art” onp.840

4 Indigenous American Art
First European explorers and conquerors arrived in the Western Hemisphere in 1519, however; it was already inhabited by peoples with long and complex histories and traditions. Art was central to the people’s lives, however; they did not distinguish any “works of art”. Some objects were utilitarian and others had ritual and symbolic associations, but there was no distinctions between art and other material culture or fine and decorative arts.

5 Mexico and South America
The Aztec in Mexico and the Incas in South America rose to prominence in the fifteenth century around the same time that Europeans began to explore the oceans in search of new trade routes to Asia.

6 The Aztec Empire In November 1519 the army of the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés beheld the great Aztec capitol of Tenochtitlan. A rare manuscript that survived the Spanish Conquest of Mexico depicts the preconquest worldview of the native peoples. 23-1. A view of the world, page from Codex Fejervary-Mayer. Aztec or Mixtec, c /21. Paint on animal hide. Each page 17.5 * 17.5 cm, total length 4.04 meters. The national Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, Liverpool, England.

7 Aztec Art At the center of the image is the ancient fire god Xiuhtecutli. Radiating from him are four directions , each associated with a specific color, a deity, and a tree with a bird in its branches. In each corner , to the right of the U-bracket, is an attribute of Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, an omnipotent, primal deity who could see humankind’s thoughts and deeds.

8 A Hand A Foot A Foot Bones

9 The Aztec Empire Cont. By the time Cortés found the remarkable city in the early 16th century were already rulers of much of the land that took their name - Mexico. Their rise to power had been recent and swift. Just 400 years earlier, according to their own legends, they had been nomadic living N.W. of the Valley of Mexico on the shores of the mythological Lake Aztlan , which is the source of the word Aztec. At the urging of their patron god, Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec began a long migration into the Valley of Mexico in the 13th century. The migration led them to the marshes on the edge Lake Texcoco, where they settled on an island where they had seen an eagle perched on a prickly cactus, a sign of there patron god had described. The Aztecs came into power through a series of alliances and arranged marriages that allowed them to expand into the city that Cortés would eventually discover.

10 Aztec Society Aztec Religion Elite of rulers and nobles
Middle Class of professional merchants and luxury artisans Lower of farmers and laborers Aztec Religion The universe was created by a pantheon of gods at the ancient city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. The existence of the universe depended on human actions, including bloodletting and human sacrifice. The sun god Huitsilopochtli required sacrificial substance in order to protect his mother Coatlicue from his sister Coyolxauhqui the moon and his brothers the stars everyday at dawn.

11 Aztec Literature Most Aztec books were destroyed in the wake of the Spanish Conquest, but the work of Aztec Scribes appears in several documents created by for Spanish administrators afterwards. The first page of the Codex Mendoza can be interpreted as an idealized representation of both the city of Tenochtitlan and its sacred ceremonial precinct.

12 J 23-2. The Founding of Tenochtitlan, page from Codex Mendoza. Aztec, 16th century. Ink and color on paper, 21.5 * 31.5 cm. The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, England An eagle perched in on a prickly pear cactus- the symbol of the city- fills the center of the page . Waterways divide the city into four quarters, which are further subdivided into wards, as represented by the seated figures. The victorious warriors at the bottom of the page represent Aztec conquest.

13 The temple or house at the top of the page probably represented the Great Pyramid- a 130 foot high stepped double pyramid with duel temples on top, one was dedicated to Huitsilopochtli and the other to Tlaloc, god of rain and fertility. Thousands of sacrificial heads were said to have been kept on a rack in the central plaza which are represented with a single skull to the right of the eagle.

14 Sculpture of serpents and serpent heads on the Great Pyramid in Tenochtitlan associated it with the Hill of the Serpent, where Huitzilopochtli slew the moon goddess Coyolxuahqui. A huge circular relief of the dismembered goddess once lay at the foot of the temple stairs, as if the enraged and triumphant Huitzilopochtli had cast her there like a sacrificial victim.

15 23-3. The Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui (“She of the Golden Bells”), from the Sacred Precinct, now the Museo Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan. Aztec, 1469(?). Stone, diameter 3.33m. Museo Templo Mayor, Mexico City. Her toroso is in the center, surrounded by her head and limbs. She has bells on her cheeks and she wears a magnificent headdress and has distinctive ear ornaments composed of disks, rectangles, and triangles. The sculpture is two-dimensional in concept with a deeply cut background.

16 The Aztecs intended their temples to resemble mountains so they carved shrines and temples directly into the mountains surrounding the Valley of Mexico. The entrance, meant to resemble the open mouth of the earth monster, leads into a circular room. The inside of the temple is symbolic of the “womb of the earth”. A pit for blood sacrifices opens in the heart of the mountain. A semicircle bench around the room is carved with stylized eagle and jaguar skins that represent two Aztec military orders, suggesting that members of those orders preformed rites here. 23-4. Rock Cut sanctuary, Malinalco, Mexico. Aztec, 15th century; modern thatched roof.

17 The Spanish found an imposing statue of Coatlicue, the mother of Huitzilopochtli, while excavating near a Spanish made cathedral in the late 18th century. One of the 16th century conquistadors described seeing such a statue covered with blood in the Temple of Huitzilopochtli, were it would have stood high above the disk of the vanquished Coyolxauhqui.

18 23-5. , The Mother Goddess, Coatlicue. Aztec, 1487-1520
23-5., The Mother Goddess, Coatlicue. Aztec, Basalt, height 2.65m. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City. h Coatlicue means “she of the serpent skirt” and this broad shouldered figure with clawed hands and feet has a skirt of twisted snakes that also form her body. A pair of serpents, symbols of gushing blood, rise from her neck and form her head. The snake eyes become her eyes and their fangs became her tusks. She wears a necklace of sacrificial offerings- hands, hearts, and a dangling skull.

19 The Inca Empire Like the Aztec, the Inca Empire’s rise had been recent and swift with a 2,600 mile long kingdom at the beginning of the 16th century, rivaling China in size. The capitol of the Inca Empire was Cuzco, the navel of the world and it was located high in the Andes Mountain. In the 15th century the Inca began to suddenly and rapidly expand, and subdued most of their domain through conquest, alliance, and intimidation. In order to maintain their diverse empire the Inca relied on overarching state religion, hierarchical bureaucracy, and various forms of labor taxation, in which the payment was labor for the state. Labor taxation required for the people to work for the state and in return the state would provide food and entertainment for the people. Although the Inca never developed writing, they did however keep detailed records on knotted and colored beads.

20 To move their armies and to speed up transportation the Inca built many roads that varied from 50 foot- wide to 3 foot-wide paths that added up to about 23,000 miles of roads. Travelers went on foot using llamas as pack animals , stairways to navigate the mountains, and rope suspension bridges helped them cross river gorges. All the roads that were built had administrative centers, storehouses, and road-side lodgings that were spaced a days travel apart. A relay system of waiting runners could carry messages between Cuzco and the farthest reaches of the empire in about a week. Cuzco , a capitol of great splendor, was a show case for of the finest Inca masonry, some of which can still be seen in the modern city.

21 The Temple of the Sun the most magnificent structure of Cuzco, served as the foundation for the Spanish colonial Church of Santo Domingo. Within the Temple of the Sun was a gold-adorned room dedicated to the sun and another, adorned with silver, dedicated to the moon. 23-6. Walls of the Temple of the Sun, below the Church of Santo Domingo, Cuzco, Peru. Inca, 15th century.

22 Inca Masonry Using simple tools like heavy stones as hammers and using no mortar, Inca builders created stone work of great refinement and durability: roads and bridges that linked the entire empire, built-up terraces for growing crops, and structures both simple and elaborate. At Machu Picchu , all buildings were made of hard granite found at the site. Commoner’s houses and some walls were built using irregular stones carefully fitted together. Some structures were erected using squared-off, smooth-surfaced stones laid in even rows, some stones that were used were up to 27 feet tall. The blocks of stone might be slightly beveled or cut at an angle so that the stones could appear to be fitted seamlessly whole. Inca made a tremendous effort to expand building, for example the erecting of the temple fortress of Saqsawaman in Cuzco was reputed to have occupied 30,000 workers for many decades. Irregular-stone wall on the left and smooth-surfaced wall on the right.

23 The Inca Empire Continued
Machu Picchu Located 9,000 feet above sea level. It straddles a ridge between two high peaks in the eastern slopes of the Andes and looks down on the Urubamba River. The site, near the eastern limits of the empire, was the estate of the Inca Pachacuti. Its temples and carved sacred stones suggest that it also had an important religious function. Machu Picchu, Peru. Inca,

24 Production of fine textiles is of ancient origin in the Andes, and were the primary forms of wealth for the Inca. Cloth was deemed a fitting offering to the gods, so fine garments were draped around golden statues, and three-dimensional images were constructed of cloth. Patterns and designs on cloth were not only decorative but also carried important symbolic meanings, including a person’s ethnic identity and social rank. Each square in the tunic shown in figure 23-8 represents a miniature tunic, but the meaning of the individual patterns is not yet completely understood.

25 23-8. Tunic, from Peru. Inca, c. 1500. Wool and cotton, 91. 76. 5 cm
23-8. Tunic, from Peru. Inca, c Wool and cotton, 91*76.5 cm. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and collections, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, D.C. hy The four-part motifs may refer to the Land of the Four Quarters. The checkerboard pattern designated military officers and royal escorts. The meaning of the diagonal key motif is not known, but it is often found on tunics with horizontal border stripes.

26 A white llama was kept in the capital as a symbol of the Inca.
The Spanish, under the conquistador Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire in 1532, melted whatever precious metals they could find to make themselves wealthy. The Inca valued god and silver not for its value but for their symbolism of the sun and the moon. Some small figures were buried as offerings to the gods and were able to escape the Spanish treasure hunt. 23-9. Llama, from Bolivia or Peru , found near Lake Titicaca, Bolivia. Inca, 15th century. Cast silver with gold and cinnabar, 22.9 * 21.6 * 4.4 cm. American Museum of Natural History, New York. The llama was thought to have a special connection with the sun, rain, and fertility, and one was sacrificed every morning and evening in Cuzco. A white llama was kept in the capital as a symbol of the Inca. The llama would wear an red tunic and gold jewelry, and would pass through the streets during April celebrations. According to Spanish commentators, the celebrations included life-sized gold and silver images of llamas, people, and gods.

27 North America In America north of Mexico, many different peoples were established, from the upper reaches of Canada and Alaska to the southern tip of Florida. North American art was small, portable, fragile, and impermanent, and until recently its aesthetic quality was unappreciated.

28 Basketry Basketry is the weaving of reeds and grasses , and other materials to form containers. The earliest evidence of basketry was found in Utah, and dates to as early as 8400 B.C.E. There are three types of techniques: coiling, twining, and plaiting. Coiling involves sewing in a spiraling manner, twining involves sewing in a vertical manner, and plaiting is weaving strips over and under each other. Feathered bowl wedding basket, formed using coiling technique.

29 Eastern Woodlands and the Great Plains
Eastern North America was first settled by early peoples who had built great earthworks and cities but were eradicated by famine, warfare, or disease. New peoples moved to the Eastern Woodlands where they sustained themselves with a combination of agriculture and hunting. In the 17th century boatloads of Europeans seeking religious freedom and a new life, began to trade with the woodland peoples. Woodland people had made wampum, belts and strings of cylindrical purple and white shell beads, to keep records and to conclude treaties (Wampum belts and strings had the power of legal agreement and also symbolized a moral order.

30 Woodland art focused on personal adornment and fragile arts like quillworks.
Quillwork is the process of soaking porcupine and bird quills and shaping them in rectilinear forms on deerskin and on artifacts like baskets and boxes. The Sioux baby carrier shown in figure is richly decorated with symbols of protection and well-being, including band of antelopes and thunderbirds. The thunderbird was a beneficial symbol because it was believed to protect against both human an supernatural adversaries.

31 23-10. Baby carrier , from the Upper Missouri River area
Baby carrier , from the Upper Missouri River area. Eastern Sioux, 19th century. Board, buckskin, porcupine quill, length 78.8 cm. Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Washington, D.C.

32 In spite of the use of shell beads in wampum, decorative beadwork did not become popular until after European contact. It eventually replaced quillwork in some places with the introduction of European glass beads. About 1830 Canadian nuns introduced Native American artists with European floral designs which began to be incorporated. Some functional aspects of clothing started to become purely decorative motifs; for example a pocket would be replaced by an area of beadwork in the form of a pocket. A shoulder bag from Kansas exemplifies the evolution of beadwork design.

33 23-11. Baby carrier, from Kansas, Delaware, c. 1860
Baby carrier, from Kansas, Delaware, c Wool fabric, cotton fabric and thread, silk ribbon, and glass beads, 58.5 *19.8 cm. The Detroit Institute of Arts. s1860 In contrast to the rectilinear patterns of quillwork, this bag is covered with plant motifs. Notice how the white outlines the different colors and heightens the intensity of the colors.

34 Tepee Over time, the Woodlands people were pushed westward by European settlers where they eventually reached an area of prairie grasslands now known as the great plains. A distinctive Plains culture flourished from about 1700 to about 1870, in which the plains people domesticated horses and became warriors equipped with riffles acquired through trade. The nomadic people hunted buffalo for food as well as for its hides from which they created clothing and a light portable dwelling known as a tepee. The tepee was well designed to withstand wind, dust and rain of the prairies. A tepee framework usually is made up of three to four long primary poles with an additional twenty and is roughly the shape of an egg. It is then covered with about 18 treated buffalo hides that repel rain, wind and dust. Tepees had a smoke hole at the top to let out smoke from the central hearth.

35 Tepees were the property and responsibility of the women, who would reconstruct them at new encampments within an hour. The women would also decorate the hides with paintings, quills, and beads. The bottom of the tepee was usually decorated with a groups traditional motif. Blackfoot women raising a tepee. Photographed c Montana Historical Society, Helena

36 Plains men recorded their exploits in symbolic and narrative form in paintings on tepee linings, covers, and buffalo hide robes. The earliest buffalo-hide robe illustrates a battle fought in 1797 in which five nations took part of. Battle-scene hide painting, from North Dakota. Mandan, Tanned buffalo hide, dyed porcupine quills, and black, red, green, yellow, and brown pigment, 2.44 * 2.65m. Peabody Museum of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The painter trying to show the complete war so he separated the war into 22 separate episodes. Their leader appears with a pipe and an elaborate eagle-feather headdress. To make the figures the painter pressed lines into the figure and them added pigments. The robe would have been worn by a powerful warrior whose deeds it commemorates.

37 1869 Life on the Great Plains changed abruptly after 1869, when Euro-Americans finished the transcontinental railway linking the coasts of the United States and providing easy access to Native American lands. By 1885 Euro-American hunters had killed of the buffalo, and soon ranchers and then farmers moved into the plains. The Euro-Americans forcibly settled the out-numbered and out-gunned Native Americans on reservations, land considered worthless until the later discovery of oil there.


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