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Ancient Americas


In 1911, Henry Walters purchased almost 100 gold artifacts from the Chiriqui region of western Panama, creating a core collection of ancient American art. Now strengthened by long-term loans and generous gifts from private collectors, the Ancient American galleries feature exceptional works of art from Central and South America, including masterpieces from the Mesoamerican Olmec, Aztec, and Maya cultures, as well as the Moche and Inca peoples of eastern South America.

The artworks revolve around a core set of themes, including agricultural fertility, the role of the ruler in forging a bond between the natural and supernatural realms, and the practice of shamanism, which included the ritual of uniting with an animal spirit.

Most of the objects, made of gold, jade, turquoise, shell, or clay, were found in tombs, intended to equip the deceased for his journey to the next world. The ancient American art galleries include extraordinary sculptures, masks, game objects, figurative and painted vases, as well as gold jewelry and ritual works. The installation is especially strong in objects from Mesoamerica (including present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras, the Intermediate Area of Central America and northern Colombia), and the Andean civilizations of Ecuador and Peru. The collection provides a comprehensive overview of the enormous variety of artistic expresssion from these regions.


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"Axe god" Pendant
"Axe god" Pendant Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.118 Accession
jaeite, costarica, cool, good, jadeite, stone, carved, sculpture, axegod, pendant, jewelery, jewelry, ornament, adornment, green, ancientamericas, centralamerica, ancient, ancientamerica Tags
"Xantil" Incense Burner Effigy Lid
"Xantil" Incense Burner Effigy Lid Title
AD 1200-1521 (Postclassic) Period
2009.20.188 Accession
tag, nice, mixteca, puebla, pueblo, earthenware, clay, sculpture, veracruz, mexico, ancientamerica, ancientamericas, southamerica, oaxaca, incense, incenseburner, effigy, man, figure Tags
Acrobat Effigy Stirrup Spout Vessel
Acrobat Effigy Stirrup Spout Vessel Title
900-200 BC (Early Horizon-Early Intermediate) Period
2009.12.11 Accession
carved, effigy, acrobat, vessel, peru, ancient, americas, southamerica, sculpture, spout, chavin, clay, ceramic, earthenware, backbend, arch Tags
Adornment
Adornment Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.79 Accession
peru, ancient, americas, southamerica, face, mask, gold, repousee, pattern Tags
Adornment
Adornment Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.80 Accession
peru, ancient, ancientamericas, ancientamerica, gold, repousee, face, mask, pattern, brass, aouthamerica Tags
Amphibian Pendant
Amphibian Pendant Title
ca. 800-1500 (Pre-Colombian) Period
57.301 Accession
ancient, americas, gold, panama, sculpture, southamerica, pendant, jewelry, frog, crocodile, shark, iguana, ancientamericas, ancientamerica, centralamerica, pre-columbian, chiriqui Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.330 Accession
stone, carved, really old, figure, colombia Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.331 Accession
stone, colombia, figure, tairona, brownstone, ancestralfigure, sculpture, carved Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.332 Accession
carved, brown, colombia, figure Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.333 Accession
figure, brown, colombia Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.334 Accession
colombia, stone, figure Tags
Ancestral Figure
Ancestral Figure Title
1000-1550 Period
41.335 Accession
carved, stone, colombia, figure Tags
Andean Textile Fragment
Andean Textile Fragment Title
16th century (Colonial) Period
83.769 Accession
peru, southamerica, weaving, tapestry, textile, cloth, pattern, colonial, birds, geometric, americas, ancientamerica, ancientamericas, pre-columbian Tags
Anthropomorphic Tubular Duct Flute
Anthropomorphic Tubular Duct Flute Title
AD 600-900 (Late Classic) Period
2009.20.135 Accession
mexico Tags
Anthropomorphic Tubular Duct Flute
Anthropomorphic Tubular Duct Flute Title
300 BC-AD 200 Period
2009.20.138 Accession
creature, figure, mexico, calima, southamerica, ancient, americas, clay, cermaic, flut, flute, music, musical, instrument, mesoamerica Tags
Armadillo Effigy Vessel
Armadillo Effigy Vessel Title
300 BC-AD 300 (Late Pre-Classic) Period
2008.27.1 Accession
creature, anteater Tags
Avian "Axe god" Pendant
Avian "Axe god" Pendant Title
n.d. Period
TL.2009.20.256 Accession
creature Tags
Avian "Axe god" Pendant
Avian "Axe god" Pendant Title
n.d. Period
TL.2009.20.257 Accession
Avian Effigy Vessel
Avian Effigy Vessel Title
ca. 800-400 BC (Formative) Period
48.2772 Accession
earthenware Tags
Avian Pendant
Avian Pendant Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.82 Accession
creature, bird, gold, southamerica, panama, ancient, americas, pendant, jewelry Tags
Ballgame (?) Performer
Ballgame (?) Performer Title
300 BC-AD 200 Period
2009.20.172 Accession
man, cool, mexico, alisco, jalisco, clay, ceramics, figure, sculpture, face, hat, standing, ancient, americas, southamerica Tags
Ballgame (?) Performer
Ballgame (?) Performer Title
300 BC-AD 200 Period
2009.20.175 Accession
Ballgame Performer
Ballgame Performer Title
100 BC-AD 300 Period
2009.20.133 Accession
games, sudamerica, mesoamerican, ballgame Tags
Ballgame Performer
Ballgame Performer Title
100 BC-AD 300 Period
2009.20.134 Accession
games, mesoamerican, ballgame Tags
Ballplayer Figure
Ballplayer Figure Title
900-600 BC (Middle Formative) Period
2009.20.228 Accession
Bat Pendant with Outstretched Wings with Openwork Design
Bat Pendant with Outstretched Wings with Openwork Design Title
1000-1550 Period
72.33 Accession
creature Tags
Battered Warrior (?) Figure
Battered Warrior (?) Figure Title
AD 600-900 (Late Classic) Period
2009.20.44 Accession
remojadas, veracruz, clay, ceramic, earthenware, ancient, americas, southamerica, mexico, headdress, face, sitting, sculpture, figure, man, warrior Tags
Beaker
Beaker Title
AD 1100-1500 (Late Intermediate-Late Horizon) Period
57.2307 Accession
Beaker with Human Face
Beaker with Human Face Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.89 Accession
Bell Pendant
Bell Pendant Title
800-1521 (Pre-Early Conquest) Period
57.311 Accession
Bell Pendant
Bell Pendant Title
800-1521 (Pre-Early Conquest) Period
57.310 Accession
Bell Pendant of a Dog
Bell Pendant of a Dog Title
800-1521 (Pre-Early Conquest) Period
57.307 Accession
creature Tags
Bell Pendant of a Duck
Bell Pendant of a Duck Title
800-1521 (Pre-Early Conquest) Period
57.308 Accession
Bell Pendant with Toucan
Bell Pendant with Toucan Title
800-1521 (Pre-Early Conquest) Period
57.296 Accession
Bell Pendants
Bell Pendants Title
AD 850-1521 (Postclassic) Period
2009.20.147.1 Accession
Bell Pendants
Bell Pendants Title
AD 850-1521 (Postclassic) Period
2009.20.147.2 Accession
Bell Pendants
Bell Pendants Title
AD 850-1521 (Postclassic) Period
2009.20.147.3 Accession
Bell with Feline Diety
Bell with Feline Diety Title
900-1500 (Late Intermediate) Period
57.2288 Accession
creature, instrument, jewelry, metal, metalwork, filigree, braid, braidwork, cat, feline, diety, tumbaga, precolumbian, ancientamericas, ancientamerica, southamerica, lostwax, lostwaxmethod, percussion, music, bell, gold, colombia, tairona Tags
Belt Rattle with Bells
Belt Rattle with Bells Title
n.d. Period
2009.20.66 Accession
bell, jewelry, ancient, americas, southamerica, pru, gold, decapitation, diety, turqouise Tags
Bird Figure
Bird Figure Title
1500-1000 BC (late Archaic) Period
2006.15.5 Accession
animal, creature Tags
Bird Pendant
Bird Pendant Title
100-500 (Early Classic) Period
42.1511 Accession
Bird Plaque
Bird Plaque Title
AD 200-1520 (?) Period
71.1220 Accession
bone, peru, bird, fish, creature Tags
Blackware Vessel
Blackware Vessel Title
AD 1-650 (Early Intermediate) Period
48.2859 Accession
Bloodletter with Standing Human Figure Handle
Bloodletter with Standing Human Figure Handle Title
1200-900 BC (Early Pre-Classic) Period
29.7 Accession
statue Tags
Bone Carving of a Shaman-Vulture
Bone Carving of a Shaman-Vulture Title
500-1000 Period
2006.15.1 Accession
creature, bird, magic Tags
Bone Object
Bone Object Title
AD 200-1520 (?) Period
71.1214 Accession
Bottle with Sharp Shoulders with Incised Design
Bottle with Sharp Shoulders with Incised Design Title
1200-900 BC (Early Pre-Classic) Period
48.2811 Accession
Bowl
Bowl Title
AD 550-850 (Late Classic) Period
2009.20.30 Accession
food Tags
Bowl
Bowl Title
300 BC-AD 100 Period
2009.20.209 Accession
Bowl
Bowl Title
AD 1250-1500 Period
TL.2009.20.281 Accession
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