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Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks

Elizabeth Hill Boone, editor

Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks

Art, Art History, Pre-Columbian Studies, Museum Collections

An extract from this book may be downloaded here.


Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks presents the Andean portion of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. It superbly illustrates all 133 Andean objects in color plates, and includes many complementary and comparative black-and-white illustrations and drawings. The body of Pre-Columbian art that Robert Bliss carefully assembled over a half-century between 1912 and 1963, and which has been amplified slightly since his death, is a remarkably significant collection. These works of art are among the finest examples of the visual arts produced by Andean cultures.

This Andean volume is the first in a series of four catalogues that will treat the entirety of the Bliss Pre-Columbian collection; the others planned will focus on objects from eastern Mesoamerica (Olmec and Maya), western Mesoamerica (Teotihuacan, Veracruz, Mixtec, and Aztec), and Lower Central America.

Andean Art is composed of five topical essays, shorter essays on the Andean cultures represented in the collection, and discussions of the individual objects. These were written by specialists in Pre-Columbian art, presenting the latest in scholarly thinking on Andean cultures and the objects. All thirteen authors bring broad perspectives from Andean culture history, archaeology, and art history to their contributions, but they focus their attentions primarily on the objects themselves, in order to provide meaningful contexts for them and to highlight how these objects, as works of art created and used purposefully, reveal special qualities of Andean culture.

The reader is provided with a fine sense of how the creators and original owners of the pieces in the Bliss collection used and valued these artworks on many levels. The authors also place individual objets alongside others of their type in so far as possible. An extraordinary feature of this volume is the technical descriptions of the metal objects provided by metals specialist Heather Lechtman.

“Through creative organization, excellent production, and above all the high quality of its contributors, this volume transcends the usual restrictions of format and content placed on catalogues. In this ambitious work, Dumbarton Oaks has presented a remarkably significant collection from the finest examples of Andean visual arts.” Journal of Anthropological Research

 

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