On View

Xochipala figure of a seated woman with fully modeled eyeballs with pierced pupils, parted lips revealing two rows of teeth, finely worked feet with fanned toes, and delicately incised hair fashioned into a stylized arrangement (these characteristics were typical of this regional style in Mexico)
Seated Woman
Seated Woman
Xochipala figure of a seated woman with fully modeled eyeballs with pierced pupils, parted lips revealing two rows of teeth, finely worked feet with fanned toes, and delicately incised hair fashioned into a stylized arrangement (these characteristics were typical of this regional style in Mexico)

Seated Woman

Mexico, Guerrero, Xochipala culture
Pre-Classic period (c. 1600–100 B.C.)
c. 1500–1200 B.C.
Ceramic
4 3/8 x 3 1/8 x 2 7/8 in. (11.1 x 8 x 7.3 cm)
AP 1971.04
The Xochipala figures are named after the remote West Mexican village near which all known examples have been found. The style is one of extraordinary physical presence and naturalism for its period.
Abstract, humanoid Female Figurine supported by short tubular legs and wide hips
Female Figurine
Female Figurine
Abstract, humanoid Female Figurine supported by short tubular legs and wide hips

Female Figurine

Japan
Jomon period (c. 10,500–300 B.C.)
c. 1000–200 B.C.
Low-fired clay
7 15/16 x 5 1/8 x 2 3/8 in. (20.1 x 13 x 6 cm)
AP 1971.15
Jomon, meaning “cord-marked,” refers to the impressions left from rolling twisted rope across the surface of moist clay. The purpose of Jomon figurines is not known, but they may have been used as protective charms or fertility symbols.
Upper thighs, torso, and head of Standing Figure with simplified, boldly flowing contours.
Standing Figure
Standing Figure
Upper thighs, torso, and head of Standing Figure with simplified, boldly flowing contours.

Standing Figure

Mexico, Olmec culture
Middle Pre-Classic period (900–300 B.C.)
c. 900–400 B.C.
Jadeite
5 1/2 x 2 11/16 x 1 1/8 in. (13.9 x 6.9 x 2.9 cm)
AP 1981.07
The Olmecs produced the first complex culture in Middle America. Their settlements saw the establishment of the first sacred centers composed of plazas, mounds, and pyramids; and the ceremonial centers contained colossal basalt sculptured heads that portrayed secular leaders as well as deities.
Detail of Male Figure's head and shoulders with complex hairstyle,  composed of three rows of seven conical buns, with larger hemispherical caps over the ears, and lavish adornments of necklaces, jewelry, and beaded chains
Male Figure
Male Figure
Detail of Male Figure's head and shoulders with complex hairstyle,  composed of three rows of seven conical buns, with larger hemispherical caps over the ears, and lavish adornments of necklaces, jewelry, and beaded chains

Male Figure

Africa, Northern Nigeria, Nok culture
c. 500 B.C.–A.D. 500
c. 195 B.C.–A.D. 205
Terracotta
19 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 6 5/8 in. (49.5 x 22.2 x 16.8 cm)
AP 1996.03
Nok terracottas are the earliest known sculptures from ancient Nigeria. Sculptures of this kind were first discovered in 1943 by Bernard Fagg near the northern Nigerian village of Nok, after which the culture that produced them was named.
Upper torso and head of Standing Bodhisattva
Standing Bodhisattva
Standing Bodhisattva
Upper torso and head of Standing Bodhisattva

Standing Bodhisattva

Pakistan, ancient region of Gandhara
Kushan period (c. 50 B.C.–A.D. 320)
2nd–3rd century A.D.
Gray schist
59 1/8 x 30 x 10 in. (150.2 x 76.2 x 25.4 cm)
AP 1997.04
With its masterly craftsmanship, harmonious proportions, and exceptional size, this majestic image of a standing bodhisattva is distinguished by the rich dress and jewelry of a Kushana prince or nobleman from the ancient region of Gandhara, in northeastern Pakistan, in the first or second century A.
Seated Buddha with Two Attendants sculpted in red sandstone. The Buddha is portrayed as a traditional yogi, seated on a throne, and dressed as a monk with his left shoulder covered and right hand raised
Seated Buddha with Two Attendants
Seated Buddha with Two Attendants
Seated Buddha with Two Attendants sculpted in red sandstone. The Buddha is portrayed as a traditional yogi, seated on a throne, and dressed as a monk with his left shoulder covered and right hand raised

Seated Buddha with Two Attendants

India, Uttar Pradesh, Mathura
Kushan period (c. 50 B.C.–A.D. 320)
A.D. 82
Red sandstone
36 5/8 x 33 5/8 x 6 5/16 in. (93 x 85.4 x 16 cm)
AP 1986.06
The Kushans ruled much of northwestern India and the ancient region of Gandhara (parts of present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan).
Bearded Man is a mosaic of a bearded man with a frontal pose and serene expression perhaps indicate that he is meant to represent a biblical figure
Bearded Man
Bearded Man
Bearded Man is a mosaic of a bearded man with a frontal pose and serene expression perhaps indicate that he is meant to represent a biblical figure

Bearded Man

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
22 1/4 x 21 1/8 in. (56.5 x 53.7 cm)
AP 1972.19
The identity of this image of a bearded man is unknown. His iconic, frontal pose and serene expression perhaps indicate that he is meant to represent a biblical figure, though not all church decoration at this time was overtly Christian in iconography.
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?) is a mosaic with a schematized image of a vessel with a hemispherical bottom from which rises a hollow stem with two strands of ivy streaming from the top
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?) is a mosaic with a schematized image of a vessel with a hemispherical bottom from which rises a hollow stem with two strands of ivy streaming from the top

Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
18 1/16 x 19 in. (45.8 x 48.2 cm)
AP 1972.22
This chalice is a flattened, schematized image of a vessel with a hemispherical bottom from which rises a hollow stem with two strands of ivy streaming from the top.
Parrot is a mosaic of a a parrot with a red beak and legs. The body is outlined by black tesserae.
Parrot
Parrot
Parrot is a mosaic of a a parrot with a red beak and legs. The body is outlined by black tesserae.

Parrot

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
13 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (35 x 50.2 cm)
AP 1972.21
This schematized image of a bird depicts a parrot with a red beak and legs. Black tesserae outline a body predominantly composed of green tesserae with red and yellow around the black pupil of the eye, two yellow tones on the wing, and two gray tones on the underbody.
Peacock is a mosaic of a peacock black eye, legs, beak and colorful feathers.
Peacock
Peacock
Peacock is a mosaic of a peacock black eye, legs, beak and colorful feathers.

Peacock

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
16 3/4 x 20 1/4 in. (42.5 x 51.4 cm)
AP 1972.23
In early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality. This peacock might have carried this meaning, or it may have referred to worldly pride and vanity. This schematized image, with black eye, legs, and beak, faces toward the viewer’s right. The head, body, and wings are outlined in black.
Detail of peacock's body and flower
Peacock and a Flower
Peacock and a Flower
Detail of peacock's body and flower

Peacock and a Flower

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
24 11/16 x 39 in. (62.7 x 99.1 cm)
AP 1972.18
In Early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality and was therefore an appropriate element in the decoration of a church. The accompanying flower probably alludes to God’s bountiful creation.
Rooster is a long-necked bird with a red beak and wattle. which might allude to the episode of a rooster crowing in the Denial of Peter
Rooster
Rooster
Rooster is a long-necked bird with a red beak and wattle. which might allude to the episode of a rooster crowing in the Denial of Peter

Rooster

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
14 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (37.5 x 59 cm)
AP 1972.20
As a rooster or cock, this long-necked bird with a red beak and wattle might allude to the episode of a rooster crowing in the Denial of Peter; as such, it would symbolize Peter’s repentance. This schematized image of a bird faces toward the viewer’s right.
Detail of stuccoed body, which is delicately painted with images of four chimerical creatures, each with a feathered, snakelike neck and head, a body containing the head of an aged divinity that may be Pawahtun
Tripod Vessel with Lid
Tripod Vessel with Lid
Detail of stuccoed body, which is delicately painted with images of four chimerical creatures, each with a feathered, snakelike neck and head, a body containing the head of an aged divinity that may be Pawahtun

Tripod Vessel with Lid

Guatemala, Maya culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–500
Ceramic with stucco and polychrome pigments
H. 11 in. (27.9 cm); Diam. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
AP 1997.01
The art of the Maya is principally the art of the ruling elite. Vessels were made to honor and commemorate once-living rulers and to venerate their gods and ancestors; these objects, laden with power and symbolism, were then buried in tombs alongside their royal or noble owners.
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning who is identified by facial elements forming a powerfully sculptural mask. The mask has forms enclosing the eyes, representative of clouds, a doubly plugged nasal extension, fangs, broad mouth, and flashy tongue. Cociyo is also dressed as a priest or deity.
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning who is identified by facial elements forming a powerfully sculptural mask. The mask has forms enclosing the eyes, representative of clouds, a doubly plugged nasal extension, fangs, broad mouth, and flashy tongue. Cociyo is also dressed as a priest or deity.

Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain

Mexico, Oaxaca, Monte Albán IIIa, Zapotec culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–500
Ceramic
28 1/2 x 21 x 18 in. (72.4 x 53.3 x 45.7 cm)
AP 1985.09
The primary capital of Zapotec culture was the ceremonial site of Monte Albán (in the modern state of Oaxaca), where the Zapotecs worshipped a complex pantheon of nature gods.
Four-Armed Ganesha is a large terracotta relief showing Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva. This relief has been damaged on the bottom and right side, but we do see an elephant’s head with one tusk and an infant’s torso with distended belly
Four-Armed Ganesha
Four-Armed Ganesha
Four-Armed Ganesha is a large terracotta relief showing Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva. This relief has been damaged on the bottom and right side, but we do see an elephant’s head with one tusk and an infant’s torso with distended belly

Four-Armed Ganesha

India, Uttar Pradesh
Gupta period (320–600)
5th–6th century A.D.
Terracotta relief
19 5/16 x 26 3/4 x 8 1/8 in. (49.1 x 67.9 x 20.6 cm)
AP 1981.11
Ganesha is the elephant-headed son of Shiva, one of the three most important deities of the Hindu pantheon, and his consort, the goddess Parvati. He is widely worshiped as the remover of obstacles and the bestower of good fortune, prosperity, and health.
Detail of Lion's head and upper torso
Lion
Lion
Detail of Lion's head and upper torso

Lion

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 450–62
Mosaic
42 1/2 x 76 15/16 in. (108 x 195.5 cm)
AP 1972.17
This schematized image of a ferocious lion probably came from a pavement decoration. It might represent a lion as part of a hunt scene or as a motif in a religious narrative.

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