Posts Tagged ‘Ancient America Art’


Out of the Maya Tombs, by David Lebrun, enters the world of Maya painted vases to explore the royal life and rich mythology of the Maya, as well as the tangled issues involved in the collection and study of looted art. The story is told by villagers, looters, archaeologists, art historians, dealers and curators. For each, these vases have a radically different value and meaning.

We know this release has been a long time coming, but we think you’ll find its been worth the wait. This is a 2-DVD set. The first DVD contains the full 96 minute feature version of the film; this is the version that has been screened at festivals, museums and universities throughout the US and Europe, and which has been the winner of numerous international awards. The second disk contains a 54-minute abridgement of the film, which some may find more practical for classroom use, as well as 9 short films exploring different aspects of the film’s themes in more depth.

This is an educational release. A home use edition, containing only the 96-minute feature, will come at a later date. For more information: http://www.der.org/films/out-of-the-maya-tombs.html

From Aztlan daily digest (FAMSI)





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May 20, 2016–September 18, 2016
Yale University Art Gallery Exhibit, New Haven, Connecticut


Moche-Wari tunic. a.d. 600 – 900. Visual Encyclopedia of Art, Scala Group 2009.

“Weaving and the Social World: 3,000 Years of Ancient Andean Textiles”
celebrates the importance and beauty of ancient Andean textiles, demonstrating the wide spectrum of their designs and functions. The exhibition presents works on loan from two private collections, including tunics, mantles, and wall hangings as well as related feather, gold, and silver ornaments; weaving implements; and ceramic vessels. Characterized by graphically powerful images of deities, animals, and geometric motifs and by advanced weaving techniques, the objects on view represent one of the world’s oldest and most important textile traditions.

Weaving was a significant artistic achievement of ancient Andean cultures in South America. Lacking written languages, societies used textiles as the primary means of transmitting images and ideas. Clothing identified a person’s gender, status, occupation, wealth, and community affiliation. Over time, textiles played an increasing role in political and religious ceremonies, particularly funerary rituals. Garments worn in life were buried with the dead, and the bodies of high-status individuals were wrapped in layers of fabrics and accompanied by cloth offerings. Textiles were also used to make votive dolls, wall hangings for shrines, clothing for figurines, bags, and other items.

Andean weavers used portable looms lashed to posts or trees with vertical warp and horizontal weft threads. A textile’s width was limited by the size of the loom, but sections could be stitched together to make larger fabrics. Textiles were produced using plain weave as well as complex techniques, such as tapestry weave and scaffold weave. Scaffold weave was unique to the Andes, while tapestry was common in Europe—although Andean tapestries incorporated finer yarns, were more tightly woven, and were finished on both sides. Additional techniques included embroidery, brocading, dye painting, tie-dye, and sewing bird feathers onto plain weaves. Threads were made from cotton native to the coast and wool from highland camelids (llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas). Andean dyers used fine organic dyes, achieving a range of more than one hundred colors. Raw materials for weaving were traded and distributed throughout the Andes. Finished textiles and other goods flowed among widely dispersed communities and major cities as tribute, gifts, or items of trade.


Andean traditional weaver. Photo: Internet.

The textiles in the exhibition represent the most significant ancient Andean cultures— including the Chancay, Chavín, Chimú, Moche, Nazca, Inca, Paracas, Sihuas, and Wari societies— and they range in date from as early as 900 b.c. to the sixteenth century a.d. Bold geometric motifs are incorporated into many of the designs, including a striking Inca tunic with a black and white checkerboard pattern, accented with a section of bright red, and Nazca tunics with chevrons, stepped diamonds, and fret motifs. Supernatural beings are also common subjects: a hand-painted Chavín mantle portrays a fanged goddess; colorful Crested Moon Animals march across a feathered Chimú tunic; and the Rayed Deity, thought to represent the sun, is powerfully resplendent on Sihuas mantles.

Animals of sky, sea, and land are depicted in stylized and naturalistic forms. An extraordinary Chancay sleeved tunic portrays condors, the large soaring bird of the Andes, in threedimensional embroidery, seen from above as if in flight. A finely embroidered Nazca mantle features a dense, repeating pattern of stylized killer whales. One wall of the exhibition galleries displays a stunning array of colorful textiles created with feathers from tropical birds of the Amazon Basin.

Exhibition co-curator Dicey Taylor explains, “Few museums have been able to present a comprehensive exhibition of complete textiles from all of the major Andean cultures. Most exhibitions have focused on particular cultures, such as the Inca, or particular types of garments. Weaving and the Social World is unique in its presentation of largely intact textiles, some in almost pristine condition, from the broad spectrum of Andean societies that rose and fell in ancient times.”


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Ocarina Tairona

Ocarina in the form of a seated lord. Colombia, Tairona, 1000-1550 CE. Ceramic.

January 31, 2015–April 10, 2016
Los Angeles County Museum of Art Exhibit
“Ancient Colombia: A Journey through the Cauca Valley”
Art of the Americas, Level 4

In spite of the popular legend of El Dorado, the conquest of Colombia never quite captured public imagination the way the conquest of Mexico or Peru did. The most valuable source of information, apart from the diverse archaeological remains, comes from Spaniards who looked beyond gold to see the marvels of the New World. Some wrote accounts, while others collected letters and reports by conquistadors for compilation into publications.
This exhibition follows the 16th century journey of Pedro Cieza de Léon, one of the most important chroniclers of the conquest, who landed on the north shore of what is now Colombia in 1533, through the Cauca River Valley. Throughout the exhibition, quotes from his descriptions are used to compare and contrast the views of 16th-century Spaniards with the insights of recent scholarship that pertain to the objects on view.

Colonial text sources convey the impression that 16th-century Colombia and its inhabitants made on the conquistadors, and in many cases the objects appear to illustrate the same world that the Spaniards described. However, recent study of the material culture and indigenous groups of Colombia reveals that the history of the people of Colombia is older and more diverse than is apparent in historical documents.

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Dallas Museum of Art

May 15-November 15, 2015
“Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes “

Inca: Conquests of the Andes explores the effects of the dynamic nature of state expansion and imperial conquest on Andean visual arts. The Inca Empire developed through the 15th and early 16th centuries, encompassing the central Andes of South America. Before and after the Inca Empire, political expansions by local states or foreign empires continually transformed the Andean coast and highlands. The visual arts of these periods reflect the dynamism of such cultural convergence.
The exhibition presents more than 120 works primarily drawn from the DMA’s collection, many of which are on view for the first time, along with significant loans. The Inca (Inka) and their imperial impact are framed by pre-Inca cultures, such as the Huari (Wari), and the successive early Spanish colonial period. The exhibition reflects the traditional media of Andean visual arts, from ceramic and wood to gold, silver, feather, and textile objects. They convey the richness and dynamism of over 1,000 years of Andean cultural history.

Chilton II Gallery
Dallas Museum of Art
1717 North Harwood
Dallas, Texas


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Révélation d’un temps sans fin

 du mardi 7 octobre 2014 au dimanche 8 février 2015

  • galerie Jardin
  • billet Expositions temporaires ou billet jumelé


Mercedes de la Garza, écrivain, historienne et académicienne. Chercheur émérite du Centre d’études mayas de l’UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) et membre permanent du comité scientifique de l’INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexique).

À propos de l’exposition

Les Mayas de l’époque préhispanique, créateurs d’une civilisation fascinante, ont laissé à la postérité des dizaines de cités révélant une architecture remarquable, une sculpture d’une grande perfection technique, de nombreuses fresques, des constructions, des vases de céramique et un registre détaillé de leurs croyances religieuses, de leurs rituels, de leur vie en communauté, de leurs habitudes et de leur histoire.

Cette exposition permet d’apprécier le legs des Mayas à l’humanité. Suivant un ordre thématique – le rapport à la nature, le pouvoir des cités, les rites funéraires -, elle donne à voir les divers aspects de cette culture ainsi que son génie créatif. L’exposition cherche à la fois à dresser un panorama général et à montrer la variété des styles et les réussites esthétiques des différents groupes mayas, chacun d’eux avec sa propre langue et sa propre expressivité.


October 7, 2014-February 8, 2015
Musee du Quai Branly Museum Exhibit
Paris, France

“Revelation of a Time Without End”

The Mayans of pre-Hispanic times, creators of a fascinating civilization, left to posterity dozens of cities revealing striking architecture, a sculpture of great technical perfection, many frescoes, constructions, ceramic vases and a detailed record of their religious beliefs, their rituals, their community life, their habits and their history.
This exhibition features the legacy of the Maya to humanity. Next thematically – the relationship to nature, the power of cities, funeral rites – it lets us see the various aspects of this culture and its creative genius. The exhibition seeks to both general overviews and show the variety of styles and aesthetic achievements of the different Mayan groups, each with its own language and its own expression.


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Teotihuacan 2

Fresco depicting a priest 200-600 AD. In Ancient American Art. Scala Group, Italy 2009.

March 29-December 7, 2014

Los Angeles County Museum of Art Exhibit

“The Painted City: Art from Teotihuacan”
This small exhibition, drawn from the museum’s extensive collection of the Art of the Ancient Americas, features painted ceramics that come from the ancient city of Teotihuacan. The exhibition includes 14 painted tripod vessels from LACMA’s collection, one of the largest in the United States, and a mural fragment on loan from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Adjacent to the modern metropolis of Mexico City in the valley of Mexico, Teotihuacan grew to be the sixth largest city in the world by 500 CE. As the city’s population boomed, sprawling apartment complexes were erected to accommodate a fast-growing middle class. These residences, depicted in an 18-foot mural included in the exhibition, were painted in a vivid palette, and spoke to the city’s prosperity and the development a distinct urban aesthetic rooted in the architectural context of the home.
As the largest metropolis in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan attracted artists and merchants from across the region and became a place where ideas and technologies were traded readily. Teotihuacanos developed a pictorial writing system dependent on a shared system of signs that adorned the city. Painted ceramics provide one of the most important avenues for understanding Teotihuacan’s visual language and attest to the principal role that painting played in the city’s artistic tradition.
Art of the Americas Building, Level 4
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Annenberg Foundation Vice President and Director Gregory Annenberg Weingarten today announced that the Annenberg Foundation has purchased 24 sacred Native American artifacts from an auction house in Paris – totaling $530 thousand– for the sole purpose of returning them to their rightful owners.  Twenty-one of these items will be returned to the Hopi Nation in Arizona, and three artifacts belonging to the San Carlos Apache will be returned to the Apache tribe.

Hopi 1

A Hopi girl of marriageable age assumes the traditional squash – blossom hairstyle, symbolizing fertility. 1998 Brompton Books Corp.

“This is a great day for not only the Hopi people but for the international community as a whole,” said Sam Tenakhongva, a Hopi cultural leader. “The Annenberg Foundation set an example today of how to do the right thing. Our hope is that this act sets an example for others that items of significant cultural and religious value can only be properly cared for by those vested with the proper knowledge and responsibility. They simply cannot be put up for sale.”

The positive development came after efforts, including those of the U.S. Embassy, were made to delay the auction of the Hopi and San Carlos Apache items.   Acting on behalf of the advocacy group Survival International and the Hopi, attorney Pierre Servan-Schreiber went last week before a judge in Paris in an attempt to have the sale of the Hopi items blocked, but on December 6, the court ruled against him.  That’s when Weingarten made the unprecedented decision to intervene.

“As an artist, I was struck by the awesome power and beauty of these objects,” said Weingarten.  “But these are not trophies to have on one’s mantel; they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans.  They do not belong in auction houses or private collections.  It gives me immense satisfaction to know that they will be returned home to their rightful owners, the Native Americans.”

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act gives federally recognized Native American tribes a way to reclaim funerary objects and ceremonial items from federal agencies and museums in the United States.  The law, however, does not apply to items held internationally.

In April of this year, the French firm Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auctioned 70 artifacts for €930,000, ignoring pleas and protests around the world.  Servan-Schreiber, who acted for Survival International and the Hopi in that case as well, bought and returned a sacred Hopi artifact to the tribe last summer.  He also bought on Monday one artifact for €13,000 and intends to return it to the Hopi.

Hopi 2

Figure of the Hopi Sio Hemis kachina. The head-dress or tableta, which is topped with cloud symbols, bears stylized plants and flowers. 1964 Holle Verlag G. M. B. H., Baden-Baden, Germany.

“Many individuals worked tirelessly on this issue for many, many months only to come away feeling disappointed following the ruling by the French court,” said Servan-Schreiber. “Now we have reason to celebrate.”

“Hopefully this gesture is the beginning of a larger conversation to discuss and inform various communities about what is sacred and what is for sale,” concluded Tenakhongva. “Although we were disappointed in the decision of the court which allowed the sale to proceed, we will continue to work to protect our cultural heritage on behalf of our Hopi people and others. This issue extends far beyond us, and it is our hope that others who have seen our campaign will step forward and help to enlighten, educate and join us in protecting cultural heritage and value across the world.

“Our thanks are once again extended to Survival International and Mr. Pierre Servan-Schreiber for their efforts and to the Annenberg Foundation for their goodwill and generous gesture. Kwakwah (Thank you).”


About the Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the foundation and its Board of Directors are directly involved in the community with several projects that expand and complement its grant support to nonprofits. Among them are Annenberg Alchemy, Annenberg Learner, Annenberg Space for Photography, Explore, GRoW and the Metabolic Studio. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance public well-being through improved communication and visionary leadership. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

SOURCE The Annenberg Foundation


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