๐Ÿ“š

All Subjects

ย >ย 

๐Ÿ–ผย 

AP Art History

ย >ย 

๐ŸŒฝ

Unit 5

5.2 Indigenous American Art by Regions

6 min readโ€ขoctober 29, 2020

cait

Cait Levin

charly511115

Charly Castillo


AP Art Historyย ๐Ÿ–ผ

Bookmarkedย 882ย โ€ขย 34ย resources
See Units

Chavรญn ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช

Architecture

Because of the mountainous terrain of Chavรญn โ›ฐ๏ธ, which was located in the Andes, many of its architecture was built in elevated areas. It is common for buildings from this civilization to be built around a u-shaped plan with a plaza (meeting space) in the center and face a large, open part of nature, but it isn't known whether this was for aesthetic purposes or not ๐Ÿคท Most buildings are also aligned with either cardinal directions or a nearby river, which shows the importance of water to the people that once lived in Chavรญn. The region's ideal location in an Andean valley, rather than on a mountain top, and near both the Huachecsa and Mosna Rivers, allowed for easy travel for its people and outsiders ๐Ÿšถ
Pictured below is Chavรญn de Huรกntar, which acted as the capital of Chavรญn's religious cult and is now located in present-day Peru.
Can you find some common characteristics of Chavรญn architecture in this work?
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-yFNFvAMRrFwc.JPG?alt=media&token=cb22a560-9d14-4828-9e17-30211db1190c

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0). Chavรญn de Huรกntar

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-d5CJVNCgm4uy.png?alt=media&token=75386235-f920-4b69-ab5c-f75efa7ffc0f

Image Courtesy of Pinterest. Plan of Chavรญn de Huรกntar

Sculpture

The majority of Chavรญn sculptures combined both human and animal forms or were zoomorphic (animal-like ๐Ÿ) in appearance but worn by humans, as you can see in the works below. This is similar to many works from unit 1, where artists combined both animal and human motifs (features or designs) to emphasize their relationship with one another and importance in each other's lives ( โฌ…๏ธ good example of a cross-unit and cross-geographical connection). Most sculptures from Chavรญn also have left-right symmetry.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-PblvPWbZMuYb.jpg?alt=media&token=7ae2a184-0468-47ec-a0fa-97584080a2c4

Resources:

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Lanzรณn Stone (one side of the carving)

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-VLTpbhh7CEw2.jpg?alt=media&token=16cf59e1-8573-4329-9db6-6b526290c9dc

Image Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Nose ornament

Describe the relationship between animals and humans in both of these works. (Don't look anything up; just use your art historian skills to find visual clues.)

Mayan ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡น

Architecture

The Mayans were well-known for constructing pyramids and temples, which were usually built near one another in plazas like the one we saw in Chavรญn or on top of one another. These buildings were built using the corbelled vaulting technique, which means that arch-like structures were placed in a space like an entryway to support the roof. They were especially important in the construction of Mayan buildings because many of them have roof combs (a structure placed on top of a temple-pyramid), which gave them both added height ๐Ÿ“ and weight ๐Ÿ‹๏ธ Although they made the construction process more difficult ๐Ÿคฏ, roof combs were important to Mayan architects because they accentuated the verticality of their buildings.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-dpU8UQNLYyOe.jpg?alt=media&token=9faa4f38-13a8-419c-897a-447624d3cb98

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0). Structure 33 at Yaxchilรกn

Sculpture

Many Mayan sculptures picture humans, which are depicted with protruding brow bones, full lips ๐Ÿ‘„, and crossed eyes ๐Ÿ‘€ ( โฌ…๏ธ this completely contradicts European standards of beauty from previous units). The majority of these humans are well-respected figures (gods and goddesses, historical people, etc.) and are pictured in different events to tell a story ๐Ÿ“– to the work's viewer (narrative art). As you can see below, the Mayans were particularly fond of relief sculpture (sculpture that is still attached to its media, rather than carved away) and used the technique almost exclusively when making sculptures.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-6CtPWHlbS1Wv.jpg?alt=media&token=dd1bd574-355f-4468-a755-848d2aea3463

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Lintel 25, Structure 23

How do the beauty standards pictured in Lintel 25, Structure 23 contradict with those we've seen in units 2-4 (ex. Greece, Renaissance Italy, Roman verism, etc)?

Anasazi ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

The Anasazi were know for their pueblos (adobe homes that are stacked onto one another), of which the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are the most well-known example. As their name suggests, these pueblos were built into the side of a cliff, similarly to Petra and the Bamiyan Buddhas in u[nit 7](Link to published Unit 7 guide). In front of the homes ๐Ÿ  is a plaza, where their inhabitants would gathe, and, possibly, complete daily tasks together and have religious ceremonies. Because they were built beneath cliffs, the residents of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings had to farm ๐ŸŒฝ and gather water๐Ÿšฐ on the plateau above and bring it down to their community (that's kind of inconvenient ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-t6E1WIPoTmBL.jpg?alt=media&token=2b02ac0d-2d02-49dd-b716-1b09e0183915

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings

Mississippian ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Unlike its name suggests, the Mississippian culture didn't originate in the state of Mississippi, but instead, a large section of the midwest, southern, and eastern United States near the Mississippi River. The people of the easternmost part were Mound-Builders (people who built mounds for various reasons, including religion and ceremonies) and sometimes made them into shapes. There are many theories as to what is pictured in the mound below, but the most popular theories are that it is a snake of some sort (most likely a rattlesnake) ๐Ÿ, or a representation of Halley's Comet โ˜„๏ธ
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-Luqo88GbYuDO.jpg?alt=media&token=447bbb15-8b85-44ef-8b88-34af12687731

Image Courtesy of the National Library of Medici. Great Serpent Mound

Aztec ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ

The single greatest influence on Aztec artwork, both sculpture and architecture, its polytheistic (more than one god or goddess) religion. Aztec religion has a reputation for being aggressive and violent ๐Ÿ˜ก, which is why most of the works from this civilization have to do with ceremonies such as blood-letting and routine human sacrifices. Most sculptures depict a mythological story that has to do with the previously mentioned topics, and were used in those rituals. For example, the Coyolxauhqui Stone (pictured below โฌ‡๏ธ) depicts a human sacrifice and was placed at the bottom of a pyramid where these sacrifices were done.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-OzZLKcidhTBG.jpg?alt=media&token=5169da9c-549d-4f1f-830e-9aa52ee979db

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0). The Calendar Stone

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-obSLc1C7a2xy.jpg?alt=media&token=e8bd3fbc-ceea-426b-814b-c43eb5341279

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia. The Coyolxauhqui Stone

Incan ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ด ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด

The Inca built their capital city, Cusco, using the ashlar masonry technique (similarly-shaped stones connected together with mortar), which shows their architectural ๐Ÿข skill. Usually, the edges of the rocks are slightly curved and do not ๐Ÿšซ form a straight line, emphasizing the trapezoidal shape of Incan buildings. Although many of these cultures are distinct, a common theme throughout all indigenous American architecture is pyramid and trapezoid-shaped buildings. It isn't known whether the Inca did this for aesthetic or religious purposes like the Aztec and Maya did.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-xZ2O1z7Hmdzk.jpg?alt=media&token=7fa18983-e1a6-412b-bac4-bee96428925d

Image Courtesy of Viator Travel on Youtube.

Native North America ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

The media (materials) used and appearance of Native North American art varies greatly by region, which include the Arctic โ„๏ธ, Pacific Northwest ๐ŸŒฒ, Southwest ๐Ÿœ๏ธ, Plains ๐ŸŒพ, and Eastern Woodlands ๐ŸŒณ. When European explorers came to these regions and introduced them to their artistic traditions, Native American artists began to use new European mediums such as beads and brighter pigments ๐ŸŽจ in their previously traditional artworks. Eventually, European settlers and tourists to reservations gained interest in Native American art and became the main market for selling these works, like the Black-on-Black Ceramic Vessel pictured below.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-5mkbN964iMvm.jpg?alt=media&token=e96886a2-5ead-48d6-b511-8c47d59e0c4e

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Transformation Mask

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-dzP5gLZAGaKs.png?alt=media&token=9f9dfb52-0216-46f3-92a4-bb9600285332

Image Courtesy of Khan Academy. Black-on-Black Ceramic Vessel

And that's it for unit 5! Hopefully, this review helped you prepare for your class and the AP Art History exam. Happy studying, art historians ๐ŸŽจ!

Summary of the works

ArtLocationFormDate
Chavรญn de HuรกntarChavรญn de Huรกntar District, PeruGranite900-200 BCE
Yaxchilรกn Lintel 25, Structure 23Chiapas, MexicoLimestone725 CE
Mesa Verde Cliff DwellingsMontezuma County, ColoradoSandstone450-1300 CE
Great Serpent MoundAdams County, OhioEarthworkc. 1070 CE
Templo MayorMexico City, MexicoStone1375-1520
Ruler's Feather HeaddressMexicoFeathers and gold1428-1520
Maize CobsCusco, PeruSheet metal and gold and silver alloysc. 1400-1533
City of CuscoCusco, PeruSandstonec. 1440
Machu PicchuCusco Region, PeruGranite1450-1540
All-T'oqapu TunicPeruCamelid fiber and cotton1450-1540
Bandolier BagOklahoma, USABeads and leatherc. 1850
Transformation MaskAlert Bay, CanadaPaint, wood, and stringlate 19th century
Painted Elk Hide (Hide Painting of a Sun Dance)Wind River Reservation, WyomingElk hide and paintc. 1890-1900
Black-on-Black Ceramic VesselSan Ildefonso Pueblo, New MexicoCeramicmid 20th century

Was this guide helpful?

Join us on Discord
Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP Art History exam.
join now
Hours Logo
Studying with Hours = the ultimate focus mode
Start a free study session
๐Ÿ” Are you ready for college apps?
Take this quiz and find out!
Start Quiz
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿ™Exam Reviews
๐ŸขUnit 10: Global Contemporary, 1980 ce to Present
๐Ÿ—ฟUnit 1: Global Prehistory, 30,000โ€“500 bce
๐Ÿ›Unit 2: Ancient Mediterranean, 3500 bceโ€“300 ce
โ›ช๏ธUnit 3: Early Europe and Colonial Americas, 200โ€“1750 ce
โš”๏ธUnit 4: Later Europe and Americas, 1750โ€“1980 ce
๐ŸŒฝUnit 5: Indigenous Americas, 1000 bceโ€“1980 ce
โšฑ๏ธUnit 6: Africa, 1100โ€“1980 ce
๐Ÿ•ŒUnit 7: West and Central Asia, 500 bceโ€“1980 ce
๐Ÿ›•Unit 8: South, East, and Southeast Asia, 300 bceโ€“1980 ce
๐ŸšUnit 9: The Pacific, 700โ€“1980 ce
FREE AP art history Survival Pack + Cram Chart PDF
Sign up now for instant access to 2 amazing downloads to help you get a 5
Join us on Discord
Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP Art History exam.
join now
๐Ÿ“ฑ Stressed or struggling and need to talk to someone?
Talk to a trained counselor for free. It's 100% anonymous.
Text FIVEABLE to 741741 to get started.
ยฉ 2021 Fiveable, Inc.