pre hispanic art


Plazuelas (600-900 CE)  is a prehispanic archaeological site located just north of San Juan el Alto, some 2.7 kilometers (1.57 mi.) north of federal highway 90 (Pénjamo-Guadalajara), and about 11 kilometers (6.8 mi.) west of the city of Pénjamo in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.  The original settlement was considerably larger, with a large, circular structure called El Cajete marking its eastern extent. According to INAH, site remains and evidence confirms the influence of many cultures merging on this site, although it is not certainly known who constructed this city, INAH believes the hunter-gatherer Chichimecas inhabited the Bajio region at the end of the postclassical period, and that many other sedentary cultures lived here before, but these cultures are not mentioned nor identified.

Click pictures for captions.


Tingambato, Michoacan.

A Late Classic to Epiclassic site dating from 400 AD to 950 AD. It is unique in being one of the few sites in Michoacan that contains a ballcourt and talud tablero architecture suggesting connections with Central Mexico. It is also unique in that it contains two tombs, both consisting of chambers with a sandstone roof. These tombs are unrelated to the earlier shaft tomb culture of Jalisco, Colima, and Nayarit.

I’ve posted about Tingambato before, but I found more images today


Cueva de las Manos (Spanish for Cave of Hands) is a cave or a series of caves located in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, 163 km (101 mi) south of the town of Perito Moreno. It is famous for (and gets its name from) the paintings of hands. The art in the cave dates from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago. Several waves of people occupied the cave, and early artwork has been carbon-dated to ca. 9300 BP (about 7300 BC).The age of the paintings was calculated from the remains of bone-made pipes used for spraying the paint on the wall of the cave to create silhouettes of hands. The site was last inhabited around 700 AD, possibly by ancestors of the Tehuelche people.


Polychrome vessel

Central coast, Peru. Chancay. 1000 AD to 1470 AD

The Chancay art style dominated Peru’s Central Coast during the Late Intermediate Period, although there was no centralized, overarching state authority ruling the region. Textiles and pottery were the primary artistic media, the former being among the most colorful, visually complex, and technically excellent weavings ever produced in Peru. Chancay pottery, on the other hand, is often rather casually or carelessly painted, its slip characterized by a matte surface finish and a palette restricted to white and black (with the infrequent addition of red or beige). The low-fired Chancay ceramics make them susceptible to surface damage, unlike the earlier pottery of the Moche, Nasca, and Waricultures. On the other hand, Chancay painting can be as lively as that of any Andean tradition. The acute difference in quality between Chancay ceramics and textiles reflects sociopolitical divisions in Chancay culture. Burial patterns indicate that the painted ceramics were consumed by all levels of Chancay society, whereas fine textiles and precious metal objects were restricted to members of higher status. As elsewhere in the Andean world, artistic quality and materials conveyed messages of hierarchy and power. This tall, narrow vessel features the frontal rendering of a male figure. He grasps a puma-headed staff in each hand, and two serpent-headed rays emanate from his head. These pan-Andean features link the figure to traditional depictions of supernatural beings or deities and shamans. The bird painted at the top of the vessel reflects this theme in its crescent-shaped head adornment, which distinguishes the “Sicán Deity” or “Sicán Lord,” who may be a culture hero or a deity among cultures to the north. The “Sicán Lord” is associated primarily with the Sicán and later Chimú societies of the North Coast, although the Chimú extended their influence over the Chancay people at the end of the Late Intermediate Period. It is not improbable that this symbol of divinity and/or sacred ancestry was adopted by the Chancay. The painter of this tall vessel animated the scene by filling the background with black avian footprints, which, at the least, lend motion to the bird if not implying its ritual performance.

The Walters

Turquoise mask pendant

Teotihuacan, Mexico. 200 AD to 500 AD 

This may actually be a fake, not from Teotihuacan, or from the wrong time period. I spotted it on Wikipedia, but it has since been taken down. The editor says the image lacks documentation and there are little to no items made of turquoise found at Teotihuacan.