Chapter 0

Test for New Template

South America's ancient past gave rise to many cultures and diverse artistic expressions.

Introduction

The way people interact with their environment can be an important influence on how cultures develop and change over time. Things that are unpredictable, like weather, and things that are constant and dependable, like geological features, can both contribute to how people understand the world they live in. The people of ancient South America had different cultural responses to their environment based on where they lived within a diverse topography.

This chapter is the first of three that focus on ancient South America. They are split into Early, Middle, and Late time periods. This is not, however, how scholars have divided up the history of the area (they use six divisions, and there is constant debate about the usefulness of those!). The streamlined organization found here groups more cultures together so that the general trends within time frames are easier to understand.

Map of South America showing the Andes

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Primary Souce: Title Goes Here

“From very early on in Andean history, textiles were the most important element of what a person wore. Andean weavers developed some of the most sophisticated textile structures on Earth, and the process of preparing, dyeing, spinning, and weaving textiles should be thought of as a technology similar to the metallurgy used to make jewelry.

Textiles communicated community membership, gender, social role, and power. Designs and weaving techniques were part of this, but so were kinds of fiber (cotton and camelid fiber were the usual materials) and dyes. Brilliant colors that were difficult to achieve were reserved for the highest elites, and clothing that used more than the minimum needed fabric spoke to wealth and power that could command labor.”

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Textiles and Jewelry

Native American Southwest

Paracas Textiles: An Introduction:  In Paracan culture, mummies were buried with lavish textiles.

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Perugino, Madonna and Child with Sts Laurence, Louis of Toulouse, Ercolanus and Constance (Decemviri Altarpiece), 1495–96, tempera on wood, 193 x 165 cm (Vatican Museums)

Paracas Textiles: An Introduction:  In Paracan culture, mummies were buried with lavish textiles.

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Diego Valadés, “The Seven Liberal Arts,” 1579, copperplate engraving, within Rhetorica Christiana ad concionandi et orandi usum accommodate […] ex Indorum maximè deprompta sunt historiis. Perugia: Petrus Jacobus Petrutius, 1579.

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Guiding Questions

How did architecture in ancient South America shape the experience of people who encountered it?

What are some ways people of ancient South America communicated to others who they were?

What objects can we use to understand a society’s history and values?

Jump down to Terms to Know

How did architecture in ancient South America shape the experience of people who encountered it?

What are some ways people of ancient South America communicated to others who they were?

What objects can we use to understand a society’s history and values?

Jump down to Terms to Know

Terms to Know

adobe

andes

contrapposto

linear perspective

another term

Contributors

Cite this page as: Heather Sansone, "Test for New Template," in Smarthistory, December 16, 2021, accessed February 2, 2023, https://smarthistory.org/reframing-art-history/test-for-new-template/.