A Simple Stone All over the world early humans fashioned stone tools. These implements of agriculture, architecture, status and warfare drove the advancement of civilization and gave rise to the culture of innovation humans exist in today. The stone pieces below are ceremonial versions of utilitarian objects. To the people that used them, they […]

                                                                                               Faces of the Past: pre-Columbian Masks 2   The first masks likely evolved from face painting in the Neolithic period. Since then, various types of masks have been used in nearly every part of the world. Masks are worn for protection, disguise, performance, ritual and in burial practices. Others are not worn, but represent the […]

                                                                                                             The Power of Large Stone   It is difficult to define the term ‘presence’ in the context of a sculptural object. Some pieces seem to inhabit an area larger then their physical dimensions would suggest. They command their surroundings and draw attention as if magnetic. The carved stone pieces below are all examples of […]

                                                                                                                  The Alamito of Argentina Among the many masks produced by pre-Columbian cultures, those made by the Condorhuasi-Alamito people are some of the most distinct in style and character. Their unmistakable features include a pronounced brow ridge, angular nose, and three drilled holes forming the eyes and mouth. Although similar in their simplicity and form, […]

The Little Things Throughout the centuries pre-Columbian master stone carvers created monumental architecture, civic ornaments and powerful masks, but they also invested significant time and labor to fashion miniature versions of important ceremonial objects. These tiny pre-Columbian stone works often required greater artistry than their larger counterparts, and now provide an opportunity to hold a […]

                                                                                                                                The Immortal Feline The lords of the ancient world sought to connect themselves with symbols of physical, supernatural and visual power. So, it’s no surprise that predatory cats were a key motif in many artistic traditions of Pre-Columbian people across Central and South America. As hunters, big cats embody strength and agility inspiring awe […]

Ceremonial Ceramics of the Calima The Calima Culture was a succession of overlapping societies that settled along the Calima River in Western Colombia around 1500 BC. Over time, agricultural chiefdoms gave rise to more centralized governance and the role of shamanism and ritual grew with the expansion of a ruling class. The height of Calima […]

The Painted Stones of Chucu In the mountainous Chucu region of southern Peru, miles of huge boulder fields form innumerable caves and passages. Starting early in the 19th Century, people exploring the area began finding painted ceramic plaques and stone slabs cached there between 700 – 1200 AD. These amazing millennia old paintings were made with vivid mineral […]

                                                                                                                             Great Small Textiles Amidst the full Pre-Columbian Tunics and Mantles that we often feature in the gallery, it’s easy to forget that some of the oldest, finest and most colorful Peruvian weavings are quite small. Despite their size however, these amazing pieces retain the presence and potency of the great cultures that wove them.    […]

Olmec Culture: Cradle of Civilization   Sometime after 3000 BC the people settling along the fertile southern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico began forming a society. The “Olmec” (as they would later be called by the Aztecs) are one of the earliest cultures in Mesoamerica. They evolved without outside influence, making them what archaeologists […]