MESOAMERICA.docx

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Department
Visual Arts History
Course
Visual Arts History 1040
Professor
Cody Barteet
Semester
Winter

Description
MESOAMERICA - most believe migrated down through Bering strait (land bridge) in ice age - new world defined as lagging behind old world in some developments (biased colonization narratives) - Americas have had shorter human history - ex. Writing starts btwn 1200-400 BCE - no major draft animals, don’t domesticate bison, horses, etc - maize/corn dominant crop - styles of farming varied - deer, howler, and spider monkeys, etc v imp, symbolic - feathers v important - connected culturally in v specific ways (ex calendars, lunar calendar and solar calendar, they run together, cyclical nature of time) - polytheism, idea of underworld and heavenly realm - hieroglyphs - large scale markets - astronomy, ball game, human sacrifice TEOTIHUACAN - in central mexico - Aztec name “place of the gods” - One of largest cities in world, multiethnic (from all over Mesoamerica) (artifacts and shit from other places found) - Unsure who they were (ethnicity, lang, etc) - Almost all site follows construction form: talud-tablero - Militaristic city, controlled practically all of central America - Pyramid of the sun, by 225 CE - One of largest pyramids in Mesoamerica - Step pyramids - Built in subsequent stages and generations - Aligned w/ equinox - Looks like a mntn, slopes upward, rounded top, based on mountain form (many volcanoes in this area, respect assoc w/ them; some works made w/ volcanic stone; get caves from mntns) - Built b/c direct relationship to caves, built on top of cave (natural water supply that comes up through cave), sealed over and only opened once or twice - Assoc w/ cults of particular deities - Market exchange - Market and citadel at centre of city, to express social/political hierarchy over space - Urban centre that imported luxury goods - Also everyday stores and food supplies - Cuidadela: seat of power of site, power granted by force and religion) MAYA - Most famous, considered first great civilization - Know military competition, some actions tied to astronomical movements - Structure 49, tikal - Similar to monuments at teotihuacan (influence, put governors everywhere) - Aerial view of tikal - Jungle areas, rainforest - Situated around temples - Temple 1 - Step pyramid, go up until temple areas (poss ritual place) - Around 160’ tall - Burial temple of Hasaw Chan K’awil (revived tikal after hiatus, reinstituted certain festivals like Katun) - Acoustic elements - Face in upper part, probs images of rulers or deities in elaborate headdresses - Structures w/ 9 levels are burial pyramids (direct assoc w/ idea of underworld; 9 levels of underworld, then 12 levels above human realm; not really heaven and hell concept) - All levels were connected, typically through a tree - Grave offering, burial 116, tikal - Human bone - Rounded and incised w/ figure and pigment - Defeated indv, shown by hieroglyphs; looking down in shame, hands tied, sometimes kneeling, sometimes nude (sign of humility) - Flat foreh
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