Gallery 358 - Mesoamerican Gallery
Part of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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The Samuel H. and Linda M. Lindenbaum Gallery contains part of the Museum's holdings of Precolumbian art, which represent a large area of the two great American continents that reaches from Mexico south through Peru. The collection covers a 3,500-year period that began at about 3000 B.C.E. and ended with the arrival of the Spanish in the early sixteenth century C.E. Works on view are displayed in three separate sections within two galleries—South American art, Precolumbian gold (both in Gallery 357), and Mesoamerican art (this gallery).
One section of the gallery encompasses art made by the early peoples of large parts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. In the second millennium B.C.E., significant works of art began to be made in distinctive styles and in forms and materials that would be favored for centuries. Sculpture in stone—from hard volcanic stones to semiprecious varieties—was produced by many of the region's ancient peoples. The fired clay, or ceramic, medium was similarly favored for three-dimensional objects of widely diverse function and inventive appearance during the many centuries before the arrival of the Europeans in the early sixteenth century.