The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes

Richard F. Townsend, Other Art Institute of Chicago $35 (397p) ISBN 978-0-86559-104-2
A breathtaking excursion into the imagination and intellect of Amerindian civilization, this lavishly illustrated catalog of a traveling exhibition marking the Columbus quincentennial explores the common threads in 14 cultures. Moving from the Olmec, Maya and Aztec of Mexico and Guatemala through the Chavin culture (900-200 B.C.) of the Andes to the Moche, Chimu and the Inca empire, the essays by 26 scholars decipher sacred geographies, myths and ancient beliefs as they are transmitted through visual arts and architecture. In their paintings, for example, the Nimbres people of New Mexico depicted an intimate, often humorous world of animals, humans and plants. On Bolivia's high plateau, the pyramids, carvings and sunken plazas of Tiwanaku define this city's role as center of the cosmos. Aztec pyramids, Maya codices, ancient Panamanian crocodile masks and the Nazca desert drawings of Peru are also discussed. Townsend is a curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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