Ancient American Art in DetailBook - 2009
This latest title in a strikingly beautiful series of collectable books turns our attention to the rich variety of art from the Ancient Americas. We gain fascinating insights into the design and production of a wide range of objects from Mexico and Central and South America. Enlarged details chosen to inspire, illuminate, and surprise bring us close to the world of the Olmecs, Mayans, Mixtecs, Aztecs, and Incans.
Beginning by asking what constitutes Ancient American art, Colin McEwan contextualizes this art in its complexity of form and meaning. The close-ups provide the reader with insights that even a behind-the-scenes museum tour cannot offer. As we move across a range of cultures and media, we understand larger issues within which these works of art are embedded: What is the relationship between art and nature in the Ancient Americas? How were these objects used in ritual and religious practices? What is the role of masks? How do the practices of ancestor deification, sacrifice, and rituals related to fertility and procreation shape the visual and material culture of the Ancient Americas?
Jade, turquoise, featherwork, metalwork, wood, stone, ceramics, textiles, and illustrations each beautifully photographed object is part of the extraordinary Ancient American collection of the British Museum. The beauty of the smallest details is magnified and contextualized through accompanying essays written by experts in Ancient American art.