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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 357

The MET : Gallery 357 : Precolumbian Art

Art From Us, Museum Guide #587

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #587 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum NY’s Gallery 357. Showcasing a collection of Precolumbian Art.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Feline-Head Bottle, from 9th – 5th century B.C.
  2. Bird Pendant, from 1st – 5th century.
  3. Double Bowl, from the 15th – early 16th century.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #587

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #587. The objects chosen for today’s Museum Guide are labelled by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as “Precolumbian.” Let us try to understand more about the meaning of this term.

What is Pre-Columbian?

The term pre-Columbian is used to allude to the time in America preceding the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. The people who inhabited the land were called aboriginals. Prior to the arrival of Columbus and the spread of the influence of Western civilizations, the aboriginals had their own indigenous cultures. The term pre-Columbian is used to refer to that land, those people, their culture and their lives.

Here are some of the most prominent civilizations of Mesoamerica, along with an interesting facts about each of them :

  1. Maya – The system of hieroglyphics developed by the Mayans is considered one of the most complex and sophisticated in the world even today.
  2. Aztec – The Aztecs were highly skilled engineers. They were known to build artificial islands and in fact, their capital city Tenochtitlan was built on a lake.
  3. Olmec – The Olmec were successful in producing rubber, even without the process of vulcanization.

If you would like to explore more about the diversity of highly sophisticated cultures pre-dating the arrival of Columbus, we encourage you to visit the MET collection.


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