Verdant Earth and Teeming Seas: The Natural World in Ancient American Art
February 11, 2012 - November 4, 2012
This exhibition highlights the Harn Museum of Art’s collection of ceramic figures and vessels, stone sculptures, jade ornaments, and textiles from diverse cultures of Ancient America including, Mesoamerica, Central America, and the Andes. This exhibition explores the many ways in which Maya, Inca, and Aztec cultures were inspired by the natural world. It introduces the natural materials they used and features various portrayals of flora and fauna from ancient American environments. The ways in which these cultures depicted animals and plants range from highly naturalistic and humorous to abstract and symbolic. While many works show a keen observation of the natural world, others show that Pre-Columbian people drew from the world around them for their mythology and for symbols of power. The exhibition draws from the Harn’s holdings, from private collections, and from the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History. Co-curated by Susan Cooksey, Curator of African Art, and Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Florida, the exhibition is made possible through the support of the Dr. Madelyn M. Lockhart Endowment for Focus Exhibitions at the Harn Museum of Art. This endowment was developed to foster collaboration between Harn Museum curators and University of Florida faculty to enhance teaching at the university.