The Americas art
1. Palace and Temple of the Inscriptions (tombpyramid of Pakal the Great), architecture
Maya cultthe th
palace 5 – 8 century CE; temple: ca. 683 CE
This massive work of architecture consists of a palace and a temple. Temple is a nine
level pyramid consists of a steep stone stairway that is quite intimidating to be viewed
from the base of the pyramid. Apart from monolithic sculptured sarcophagus and a
fracture of other artifacts found most of the materials are lost.
This was a part of a city with about 500 other buildings that stands in conformity with the
extremely complex mayan culture. The palace and the temple was very carefully
organized and ordered; as the discovered tomb of Pakel was placed carefully in a
sarcophagus placed in representation of the balance between the earth and the
underworld. The palace being the center of administration and royal residence it is fair to
say that it was commissioned by Pakel the great himself.
These massive structures were meant too be seen by the people who lived in the city and
the neighbourig tribes to demonstrate the power. The temple was made for priests and
used as a sacrificial alter. Similarities to the Egyptian pyramid structures.
2. Portrait Head of Pakal the Great,
The portrait depicts the ruler as a young man jade flowers. The features, sloping forehead
and elongated forehead (binding the foreheads of aristrocratic babies to create the
elongated look), large nose with an enhanced bridge ornamental bridge, full lips and open
mouth characterize the ideal beauty and youth that this portrait stylize. Made of stucco
and red paint. Remaining red pigment shows the portrait was colourfully painted like
many other Mayan sculpture.
The sculpture was found in a sarcophagus in the temple of inscriptions made by Pakel
and hence can be made for funerary purposes. Priests were involved in funerary functions
and likely was the audience.
3. The Founding of Tenochtitlan, ink and colour on paper
Aztec culture, illuminated manuscript
Ink and colour on paper was used to create the work that served as the first page of the
Mendoza that was prepared for the Spanish invadors. This is structured as a map showing
the physical layout and a guiding plan of the city. Bordered with Aztec writings the
picture fills with an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus growing fom a stone
symbolizing the city with waterways dividing it into four quarters and the human figures
in the bottom of the picture shows a clear hieretic scale dividing the royal soldiers from
the normal civilians.
They were nomadic people but according to a vision where they had seen eagle preaching
on a cactus on a stone would mark the end to their wandering lifestyle and the city was
built on a island complex linked by human made canals (as showed on the manuscript).
Marks their connection to another culture by the fact that this was made for the Spanish.
At the top the building painted represents the temple of sun god/war god shows the
religion obsession in the society. The marking of sacrifices promotes the social dogma.
4. Geoglyph of a Hummingbird
The earth sculptures were made by removing a dark oxidized layer of stone and they
exposed a lighter underlying stone. The design can only be viewed fully form the air.
Straight lines and curves were used to create the image that were massive in length.
These images including the hummingbird were commonly used in pottery decorations.
The geoglyph was created on a rather difficult landscape to approach which shows the
significance of the work by the sheer effort one might have put into the work. The lines
are known to be wide enough to be used as a ceremonial pathway, so these may ave
served as ceremonial grounds. The audience may have been the citizens, joining the
hypothesis of these being ceremonial grounds and the fact that images can be fully seen
from the air may have been done for the gods to view.
sculpture gold, turquoise, quartz and shell was used to create the sculpture. The precious materials
show the wealth of the owner Sipan. The central frontal figure bursts in to three
dimentions while the other two characters are in flat inlay. All three are adorned with
crescent shaped head dresses that resemble the knives used for sacrificing.
The earspool was found in Sipan’s tomb in Peru accompanying other riches that were
buried with it. He was given the earspool with a warrior priest carved possibly as an
emblem of recognition of his services. Since it is assumed to be a funerary object it can
be said that the intended audienc