Cover image for The art of Mesoamerica : from Olmec to Aztec
The art of Mesoamerica : from Olmec to Aztec
Miller, Mary Ellen.
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
London : Thames & Hudson, [2001]

Physical Description:
240 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1219.3.A7 M55 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This essential guide to the art and architecture of ancient Mesoamerica succinctly and evocatively summarizes the artistic achievements of the high pre-Columbian civilizations -- Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Tolec, Aztec -- as well as those of their less well-known contemporaries. The pyramids and palaces, jades and brightly colored paintings emerge from these pages as vividly as when they first astonished Cortes's men in 1519.

There was a surprising unity in Mesoamerican culture from Mexico to Honduras and from 1500 B.C. to the Spanish Conquest. Among many features shared were a 260-day ritual calendar and a preoccupation with gods representing natural forces. Current research also emphasizes the great importance of rites of kingship, including warfare and blood sacrifice.

In this third edition, Mary Miller opens up new windows on the ancient past with fresh readings of works of art, all the while offering careful archaeological interpretations. Recent hieroglyphic decipherments provide insights into ancient art, spelling out long-distance connections between the Maya and their neighbors. Updated throughout, with special attention to evidence for dating, the new Art of Mesoamerica is the ideal companion for students and travelers.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This third edition of a noted pre-Columbian art history book will satisfy various types of readers, including travelers, armchair archaeologists, museum goers, and art history students. Inspired by new discoveries in archaeology and by major museum exhibitions, Miller (history of art, Yale) covers Mesoamerica's broad range of cultures, from Olmec to Aztec; geographic areas, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and the Yucat n; and time periods, from archaic to postclassic. She explains how architecture, sculpture, painting, and ceramics relate to the dynamic forces of advance and decline within each culture and pays special attention to recent hieroglyphic decipherments and evidence for dating. The publication is enhanced by 193 pages of illustrations and beautiful color photography on quality paper. This book's trade paperback format make it ideal to take on vacation or to a museum. Recommended for public and academic libraries and for specialized collections. Sylvia Andrews, Indiana State Lib., Indianapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Chronological tablep. 6
Prefacep. 7
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Olmecsp. 17
Chapter 3 The Late Formativep. 38
Chapter 4 Teotihuacanp. 67
Chapter 5 Classic Monte Alban, Veracruz and Cotzumalhuapap. 83
Chapter 6 The Early Classic Mayap. 102
Chapter 7 The Late Classic Mayap. 123
Chapter 8 Mesoamerica after the fall of Classic citiesp. 162
Chapter 9 The Aztecsp. 197
Select Bibliographyp. 232
List of Illustrationsp. 236
Indexp. 238