On View

Jar with Sculptural Rim
Jar with Sculptural Rim

Jar with Sculptural Rim

Japan
Jomon period (c. 10,500–300 B.C.)
2500–1000 B.C.
Low-fired clay
16 9/16 x 14 15/16 in. (42 x 38 cm)
APx 1974.03
Jomon, meaning “cord-marked,” refers to the impressions left from rolling braided or twisted ropes across the surface of moist clay vessels in the Neolithic period in Japan, which is thus known as the Jomon period.
Seated Woman
Seated Woman

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.
Nao Bell
Nao Bell

Nao Bell

China, possibly Hunan province
Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1046–771 B.C.)
c. 10th century B.C.
Bronze
19 x 13 1/2 x 10 in. (48.3 x 34.3 x 25.4 cm)
AP 1995.03
This impressive, heavily cast nao bell is ornamented on each side with eighteen conical studs arranged in three rows, separated by bands of scrolling thunder pattern (leiwen) decoration, and surrounded by borders of fine thread-relief.
Standing Figure
Standing Figure

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.
Head
Head

Head

Africa, Northern Nigeria, Nok culture
c. 500 B.C.–A.D. 500
c. 285 B.C.–A.D. 515
Terracotta
12 3/4 x 6 3/4 x 7 in. (32.4 x 17.2 x 17.8 cm)
AP 1996.04
This unadorned yet elegant head represents a strain of Nok art differentiated from the typically more energized Nok style, perhaps of a type produced in another area. Sculpted in the round, it is most likely broken at the neck from a full figure.
Male Figure
Male Figure

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.
Standing Bodhisattva
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
Seated Buddha with Two Attendants

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).
Conch Shell Trumpet
Conch Shell Trumpet

Conch Shell Trumpet

Guatemala, Maya culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 250–400
Shell with traces of cinnabar
H. 11 9/16 in. (29.3 cm); Diam. 5 1/4 in. (13.4 cm)
AP 1984.11
This elaborately decorated conch shell bears the face of a Maya king, carefully incised following the undulations in the shell’s surface, and a column of glyphs to the side recording the name of its royal owner.
Tripod Vessel
Tripod Vessel

Tripod Vessel

Mexico or Guatemala, Maya culture
Classic period (A.D. 250–900)
c. A.D. 300–900
Limestone
H. 9 7/16 in. (23.9 cm); Diam. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm)
AP 1994.02
This Maya limestone vessel is unusual for its beautiful material and simple form. The vessel is crafted from a single piece of stone into a cylindrical vase with straight flaring sides ending in a slightly everted lip. At the base are three supports of rounded “tear-drop” form.
Bearded Man
Bearded Man

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

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
Parrot

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
Peacock

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.
Peacock and a Flower
Peacock and a 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
Rooster

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.

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