Integrating the Mead Art Museum’s Collection of Prehispanic Central and South American Art Across the Curriculum, January 14–15, 2010.
Guest Scholar: Rosemary A. Joyce, University of California, Berkeley.


Overview and Schedule

“Integrating Amherst's Collection of Prehispanic Central and South American Art across the Curriculum” was led by guest scholar Rosemary A. Joyce, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences, Chair, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. The seminar featured works from the Mead’s broad holdings of Prehispanic Central and South American art and was open to Five College faculty members from any discipline curious to learn more about ancient Mexican and Peruvian art (works by the Maya, Aztec, Moche, and Inca are represented) and to explore opportunities for incorporating original artifacts from the Mead’s collections into their teaching and research. Participants learned in depth and hands-on about the function, construction, and significance of the Prehispanic objects in the Mead’s collection and explored their key stylistic characteristics, their value for reconstructing socio-political and gender relations, and their role in the history of collecting practices, while simultaneously exploring different innovative teaching strategies for using these works of art in a wide variety of course subjects.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Session 1: Issues of Representation: Style, Culture, and Tradition

Session 2: Museology and Provenience

Session 3: Materiality and Practice: How Things Make People and People Make Things

Friday, January 15, 2010

Session 1: Subjectivity: Human Representation as a Problem

Session 2: Area Focus: Mexico

Session 3: Area Focus: Andes

Session 4: Integrating the Mead’s Prehispanic Collection into Course Curricula


Guest Scholar: Rosemary A. Joyce

Rosemary A. Joyce is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences and the Chair of the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. She is a specialist in Central American art and archaeology and field director of the Proyecto Arqueológico Colonial de la Costa Norte, Honduras. Her current research explores the ways prehispanic inhabitants of Central America employed material culture to negotiate their place in society. Much of her published work is concerned with the use of representational imagery to create and reinforce gendered identities and includes examinations of Classic Maya monumental art and glyphic texts. Her most recent book is Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives: Sex, Gender, and Archaeology (Thames and Hudson, 2008).


Pedagogical Exercises

Exercise 1 - Interpretation
Exercise 2 - Comparison
Exercise 3 - Observation
Exercise 4 - Human Representation


Suggested Readings

Joyce, Rosemary A. “Adam Herring. Art and Writing in the Maya Cities, A.D. 600–800: A Poetics of Line” (book review). The Art Bulletin 89:3 (September 2007), 591–593.

Joyce, Rosemary A. “Mesoamerica: A Working Model for Archaeology.” In Mesoamerican Archaeology: Theory and Practice (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology), edited by Julia A. Hendon and Rosemary A. Joyce, 1–42. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd., 2004.

Joyce, Rosemary A. “Practice in and as deposition.” In Memory Work: Archaeologies of Material Practices, edited by Barbara J. Mills and William H. Walker, 25–40. Santa Fe: SAR Press, 2008.

Joyce, Rosemary A. “Seeing Power: Masterpieces of Early Classic Maya ‘High Culture.’” American Journal of Archaeology Online Museum Review 110.2 (April 2006).

Joyce, Rosemary A. “Speaking for Absent Subjects: Responsibility in Archaeological Discourse.” In Mixtec Writing and Society, edited by Maarten E.R.G.N. Jansen and Laure N.K. van Broekhoven, 15–25. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2007.

Joyce, Rosemary A. “What Kind of Subject of Study is ‘The Ancient Maya’?” Reviews in Anthropology 34 (2005), 1–17.


Object Checklist

Chimu stirrup spout bottle
Peru, 1200-1400
AC C.1940.9
Crab-human figure.

Chimu dog vessel
Peru, ca. 1100-1400
AC C.1940.11

Moche stirrup spout bottle with pair of humans
Peru, ca. 200-600

Aztec style sculpture
Mexico, ca. 1325-1521
Volcanic stone, basalt?
AC 1955.663
Male wearing simple loincloth, flexible material through ears and in headdress. Hand pierced to hold banner. Probably originally set in architecture.

Chimu stirrup spout vessel
Peru, ca. 1200-1450
AC 1975.40
Blackware with reclining human figure

Chupicuaro hand-modeled ceramic figure
Mexico, ca. 500 B.C.E.-200 C.E.
AC 1975.50.b
Female with jewelry.

Chupicuaro polychrome dish with tripod feet
Mexico, ca. 500 B.C.E.-200 C.E.
AC 1975.52

Campeche, Classic Maya mold-made ceramic figure
Mexico, ca. 700-850
AC 1975.128
Attributed to Jaina Island. Standing woman wearing elaborately worked skirt, blouse(s) (huipil) and shawl (quechquemitl).

Nayarit ceramic figure
West Mexico, ca. 100-400
AC 1979.137
Seated male with bag over shoulder holding rod-shaped object in hand connected to flexible material wound around arm.

Classic Maya polychrome bowl
Guatemala?, ca. 700-800
AC 1983.84
Characters from Maya script repeated around top of vessel.

La Mora polychrome bowl
Costa Rica, ca. 800-1200
AC 1983.91

Copador polychrome bowl
El Salvador?, ca. 700-850
AC 1983.96

Moche stirrup spout bottle
Peru, ca. 200-600
AC 1991.47
Warrior with mace.

Early Moche stirrup spout bottle with abstract ornament
AC 1991.49

Chimu bottle
Peru, ca. 1100-1400
AC 1993.21
Blackware with human head on vessel neck, with feline draped around shoulder of vessel.

Moche stirrup spout bottle
Peru, ca. 200-600
AC 1995.62
Warrior with mace.