Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas

GBP £39.95



ISBN: 978-1-907804-05-2

264 Pages

280 x 235 mm (9 ¼ x 11 in)

380 colour and 43 b&w illustrations

In association with the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

March 2012


A new volume that presents 148 pre-Columbian works from the collection assembled by John G. Bourne of Santa Fe, N.M., in the 1950s and 1960s

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Contributions by Julie Lauffenburger, Jessica Arista, Glenn Gates, and Marc Zender
With an introduction by John Bourne
Photography by Susan Tobin

Assembled by John Bourne over the course of sixty years, this internationally renowned collection of ancient Mesoamerican, Central American, and Andean South American art spans more than 2,500 years, from 1200 BCE to 1530 CE. Tthis fully illustrated volume features nearly 150 exquisite objects, including ceremonial and utilitarian vessels and figurines, incense burners, musical instruments, and jewellery, in a dazzling variety of media, presented in discursive entries accompanied by technical commentary and full-colour plates.

Each of the three sections of the catalogue opens with an introductory text on the art, culture, and ceremonial features of the regions represented by the collection. An introduction by Bourne vividly recounts his expedition in 1946, with Carl Frey, to the site of Bonampak in the Mexican state of Chiapas; the two travellers were the first non-Maya to see the now-celebrated Early Classic Period Maya ruins. The volume also features an illustrated checklist of the remaining 158 objects in the collection, an essay on the science of authenticating art of the ancient Americas, a bibliography, and an index.

Author biographies

Dorie Reents-Budet is consulting curator for art of the ancient Americas at the Walters Art Museum and curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Dr. Reents-Budet is the author of  Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship (2006).  Jessica Arista is an assistant conservator at MFA, Boston and previously worked at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Glenn Gates is conservation scientist at the Walters Art Museum.  Julie Lauffenburger is Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of Conservation and Technical Research at the Walters Art Museum. Marc Zender is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University.  He is the co-author of Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture (2011).

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword by Gary Vikan
  2. Introduction: Recollect ions of My Early Travels in Chiapas by John Bourne
  3. Note to the reader
  4. Part 1: Mesoamerica
  5. Part 2: Central America
  6. Part 3: Andean South America (Colombia & Ecuador and Peru & Bolivia)
  7. Part 4: Approaches to Authentication by Julie Lauffenburger
  8. Checklist
  9. Abbreviated References
  10. Acknowledgments
  11. Index
  12. Illustration credits