Mesoamerican Mythology - Common Characteristics of Mesoamerican Culture - Political and Religious Art

Political and Religious Art

See also: Maya art

Mesoamerican artistic expression was conditioned by ideology and generally related to focusing on themes of religion and/or sociopolitical power. This is largely based on the fact that most works that survived the Spanish conquest were public monuments. These monuments were typically erected by rulers who sought to visually legitimize their sociocultural and political position; by doing so, they intertwined their lineage, personal attributes and achievements, and legacy with religious concepts. As such, these monuments were specifically designed for public display and took many forms, including stele, sculpture, architectural reliefs, and other types of architectural elements (e.g., roofcombs). Other themes expressed include tracking time, glorifying the city, and veneration of the gods—all of which were tied to explicitly aggrandizing the abilities and the reign of the ruler who commissioned the artwork.

Other pre-Hispanic art was produced for inner, rather than outward, meaning. Its value relates not so much in what it visually depicts, but rather to what it represents. Earthenware (ceramic vessels) are an example of this type of artistic expression, and were symbolic due to the origin of their source material; they were often in burial rituals and as the invisible faces of statues.

Read more about this topic:  Mesoamerican Mythology, Common Characteristics of Mesoamerican Culture

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Famous quotes containing the words art, political and/or religious:

    Abused as we abuse it at present, dramatic art is in no sense cathartic; it is merely a form of emotional masturbation.... It is the rarest thing to find a player who has not had his character affected for the worse by the practice of his profession. Nobody can make a habit of self-exhibition, nobody can exploit his personality for the sake of exercising a kind of hypnotic power over others, and remain untouched by the process.
    Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)

    My political enemies I can freely forgive; but as for who abused me when I was serving my country in the field, and those who attacked me for serving my country—Doctor, that is a different case.
    Andrew Jackson (1767–1845)

    Good religious men, with the love of men in their hearts, and the means to pay their toll in their pockets.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)