Final Week: Design for Eternity!

Closing Sept. 18th! If you can’t make it to The Met, all exhibition works are online, and the catalogue is for sale below.

Temple Model, 2nd century B.C.–A.D. 3rd century Colima, Ceramic; height 7-1/8 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, From the Collection of Nina and Gordon Bunshaft, Bequest of Nina Bunshaft, 1994 (1995.63.5)

TALK: Community, Royalty, and Artistry in Ancient Mexico

An upcoming lecture at Sewanee on September 26:

This presentation will describe the role of artists in ancient Mexico from the earliest known societies to the sumptuous courtly arts of thriving city-states such as those of the Maya and the Aztec. Archaeologists see only traces of most ancient villages that were teeming with life across the landscape from the second millennium BC until the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century. In Mexico, such communities, and the households within them, were the basic threads of the social fabric. Ancient Mexican rulers leaders sought to coopt this essential “spirit” of the community through artwork: by harnessing the symbolism encoded in fundamental themes such as ancestral couples, sacrifice, and the mythology surrounding maize agriculture. To maintain their political power, leaders adorned their bodies with luxurious materials and commissioned elaborate works of art to take with them into the afterlife.

BOOK: Architecture and the Origins of Preclassic Maya Politics – May 2017

My book will come out in 2017 with Cambridge University Press.

Architecture and the Origins of Preclassic Maya Politics

ISBN: 9781107145375

From the Press:

Architecture and the Origins of Preclassic Maya Politics highlights the dramatic changes in the relationship of ancient Maya peoples to the landscape and to each other in the Preclassic period (c.2000 BC–250 AD). Offering a comprehensive history of Preclassic Maya society, James Doyle focuses on recent discoveries of early writing, mural painting, stone monuments, and evidence of divine kingship that have reshaped our understanding of cultural developments in the first millennium BC. He also addresses one of the crucial concerns of contemporary archaeology: the emergence of political authorities and their subjects in early complex polities. Doyle shows how architectural trends in the Maya Lowlands in the Preclassic period exhibit the widespread, cross-cultural link between monumental architecture of imposing intent, human collaboration, and urbanism.

Table of Contents Preview!

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Setting
3. Mesoamerican and Maya monumentality, identity, and politics
4. Middle Preclassic Maya E-group plazas: distribution and geopolitics 800–300 BC
5. The architecture and spaces of the early Ajaw, c.300–1 BC
6. Migration and abandonment
7. The Preclassic big picture.

And about me:

James Doyle, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
James Doyle is an archaeologist and Assistant Curator of the Art of the Ancient Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His areas of expertise include the art and archaeology of Mesoamerica, Central America, and Colombia. He has contributed to major art exhibitions, writes for the Museum’s blog, and promotes pre-Columbian art and archaeology through social media