Ancient Art of the Americas

Ancient Art of the Americas

The MGMoA has art and artifacts from several major central and south American societies – Aztec, Inca, Maya, Moche, Chimu, and Olmec.

Ancient Art of the Americas

Mayan Jade Earflares

The Mayan civilization spread from Mexico into central America from 7000 BC until 1524 AD. The jade earflares catch people’s attention. While they do look like a modern ear gage, they are much heavier than most on the market today. The earflare was anchored either by beaded counterweights that were threaded through the earflare and hung behind the earlobe or an L-shaped plug made of wood that fit through the opening from the back. Jade was one of the most precious materials to the Mayans. Jade items were owned by someone with wealth and power. The Mayans believed holes were a passageway into the supernatural world. They believed that earflares were small portals on the human body.

Moche Portrait Stirrup Vessel

The Moche culture thrived on Peru’s northern coast between approximately 200 and 900 AD. They were known for their mold-made vessels decorated with cream, red-brown or orange, and black slip. These fine, thin-walled vessels were known throughout the region. Stirrup refers to the shape of the spout of the vessel. The portraits are thought to be Moche rulers. These vessels were mainly found in burials, but recently some have been found in excavations of Moche houses.

Chimu Whistling Pot

The Chimu culture is from Peru’s northern coast and flourished between 1000 and 1450 AD. Whistling pots make a whistling sound either when blowing on the spout or when the vessel is partly filled with water and it is tipped from side to side. The whistling sounds like a bird call. To hear the sound, click to hear {} two whistling pots from Harvard’s Peabody Museum. In the Chimu culture, the moon was worshiped as a deity; and as part of their religion, they sacrificed birds and other animals to the moon god. Birds were associated with prestige and abundance in Chimu culture.

Inca Bird Flute

The Inca empire stretched from modern day Columbia in the North to Argentina in the South and West into Bolivia from 1200-1532 AD. This ocarina-type flute is in the shape of a bird. An ocarina is an enclosed clay flute with 4 – 12 finger holes and a mouthpiece.

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Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

1900 West MacArthur
Shawnee, OK 74804

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