ACTIVITIES

ART


1. Here is a drawing of the Wall panel depicting Lady Bolon-K’an in ritual dress. Draw in the missing pieces and color the image. To research the color for the feathers, you may want to check an ENCYCLOPEDIA for a picture of the quetzal bird.

 

2. Ancient American artists often used images of powerful animals: 

Jaguar-like qualities shape the face of the Olmec Seated ruler in ritual pose.

Crocodiles dominate the gold Headdress ornament with heads flanked by crested crocodiles.

Large birds, possibly condors, cover the Paracas Mantle with birds.

A feline is prominent on the Stirrup-spout vessel with felines and cacti.

These images of animals were beautiful, but more importantly, these images also connected people to powerful spiritual forces.

 

What kind of animal do you admire?  Pick out qualities of your animal that are important.  Now make a drawing of yourself that shows the addition of that quality.  For example, you may admire eagles because they are such strong flyers or because their eyesight is so keen.  Investigate the qualities of the eagle and draw your "new self" with strong eagle wings or keen eagle eyes.

 

3. Although elaborately decorated, the Lidded tetrapod bowl with paddler and peccaries might have been used to actually hold something.  Imagine being served something to eat in a lidded bowl like this!  Design your own special bowl, and decorate it.  Remember that the Maya artist who made the Lidded tetrapod bowl used decoration to express important ideas and information about the culture.  How can the decoration of your bowl share important ideas and information about your culture?  

 

4. Look carefully at the Moche Stirrup-spout vessel with deer hunting scene.

 

A. Part of this vase has 2-dimensional decoration and part has 3-dimensional decoration.  Find these parts and explain the difference.  Which kind of decoration do you like better? 

 

B. Find the largest human on the bottom part of the vessel.  When Moche artists painted the human figure, they made an image that combined frontal and profile drawing. Some parts of the body are drawn as though you were looking frontally at the figure, and other parts are drawn as if you were looking from the side.  Like many other artists, including the Egyptians, Moche artists wanted to make the clearest and most readable image. Study the Moche artist's technique.  Then make a drawing of your favorite hero, heroine, or yourself in this frontal/profile style.


5. The Mixtec image of Tlaloc is a three-dimensional sculpture that was once brilliantly painted.  Mixtec artists also drew two-dimensional pictures of this rain god for their codices, or books.

 

Codex Nuttal

Codex Laud

Codex Laud

 

Investigate the word "codex" in the dictionary.  Among Mesoamericans, the Maya were also famous for their codex libraries.  Archaeologists and art historians use information in these written records to learn more about objects from ancient cultures. 

 

Use the codex images illustrated above to conduct your own investigation of the Head of the rain god Tlaloc!  Visually compare and contrast the drawings and the sculpture.  How are they similar or different?

 

Make your own class codex!  Have each person in class draw a picture of their favorite ancient American work of art; you might make your drawings at the Museum.  Then attach the drawings end-to-end to form a codex.