Category Archives: 2014 Spring, ART 485: Art of Mesoamerica

Chupícuaro Vessels, Researched by Logan Williams and Caitlin Baker

The Chupícuaro cultures produced some of the most boldly patterned polychrome ceramics of Mesoamerica. Chupícuaro ceramics include hollow figures, bowls and jars of different shapes, and tripod vessels. The vessels are usually made using a brown or black clay that is painted commonly with geometric polychrome designs, usually in buff, red, and black, but also sometimes with other colors.

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Mesoamerican Ceramic Vessels, Researched by Caitlin Baker, Charles Andrew Corbett, and Logan Williams

As with Mesoamerican figurines, ceramic vessels were in production among Mesoamerican cultures by 2500 B.C.E. The making of ceramic vessels has continued to flourish through contemporary times, both as a craft for making utilitarian wares and as an artform for making elaborate, artistic vessels and sculptures.

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Huichol Yarn Bird, Researched by Joakima Day

The Huichol cultures produce art that uses images of animals and other motifs from nature, such as the sun or flowers, to symbolically record their history and ideas. The Huichol are best known for making wooden or papier-mâché sculptures that are coated with beeswax and then covered with colorful nature motifs formed using tiny, imported glass seed beads or brightly colored yarn.

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Guatemala Maya Costume, Researched by Christina Bradshaw and Elizabeth Haughey

Traditional Maya textiles are crafted individually by highly skilled weavers who incorporate bright colors and intricate patterns. Since Pre-Columbian times, Maya textiles have been highly developed and highly valued, serving not only as a component of blankets, clothing, and other functional objects, but also as a way of showing status and region.

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Mesoamerican Ceramic Figurines, Researched by Allison Robbins and Sammie Hernandez

Mesoamerican cultures began producing ceramics in the form of small, handmade figurines by 2500 B.C.E. Small, handmade anthropomorphic figures were very common in ancient cultures, but their use was concentrated during the Pre-Classic/Formative period (1500 B.C.E.-250 C.E.), as after that time, most figurines were made using molds.

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Ozarks vs. Mesoamerican Projectile Points, Researched by Brenna Lightsey

Native American stone points from the Ozarks region are often comparable to stone points in Mesoamerica, as although the type of stone may differ, similar points were often developed for similar purposes in different parts of the world. Comparison illustrates that the Ozarks’ Jack Reef Pentagonal Point, the Dickson Contacting Stem Point, and the Cressap Stemmed point are very similar, respectively, to the Absolo Point, the Gary Typical Point, and the Gary Long Point found among early Teotihuacano cultures in the Valley of Mexico.

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Codex Images of Aztec Deities, Researched by Lauren Fitzpatrick

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures were known for recording their histories, their religious stories, their calendar, and even their tribute listings as codices, which in the Mesoamerican world took the form of screenfold books. While the Maya developed a complex system of hieroglyphic writing, other Mesoamerican cultures developed systems of recording information that combined pictographs and images, and these systems have recently come more and more to be recognized as systems of writing.

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Contemporary Mesoamerican Textiles, Researched by Clara Komrosky-Licata

The production of Mesoamerican textiles dates back to about 1000 B.C.E., as shown by textile impressions in ancient pottery sherds. Although actual ancient samples of textiles have not survived the tropical climate of Mesoamerica, Pre-Columbian sculptural depictions and paintings of figures wearing woven costume indicate that textiles were decorative, highly valued, and used to show elite status since the Pre-Classic/Formative period (1500 B.C.E.-250 C.E.).

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Papel Picado Banners, Researched by Nichapat Kongpaisarnnatee, Michelle Eveker, and Celeste Hanford

Papel picado banners have a long history in indigenous Mesoamerican culture. Mesoamerican cultures such as the Otomi and the Aztec traditionally made paper from the inner bark of maguey, fig, or mulberry trees. Religious practitioners cut the paper into designs for use in rituals to combat disease, misfortune, and dangerous spirits, as well as in rituals to ask for protection. Often the designs consist of figures such as Miquitzli, the Aztec deity of death.

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