Richard F. Townsend
Richard F. Townsend is former curator of African and Amerindian art at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Townsend, Richard F.
Townsend, Richard F.
United States of America
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Description: The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes
Among the thousands of objects discovered during the excavation of the ruins of the Aztec Main Pyramid in downtown Mexico City was a pair of spectacular ritual water jars, modeled with the mask of the deity Tlaloc and painted brilliant blue (see fig. 1). The goggled eyes, fanged mouth, and heron feathers repeat the features on carved wooden and turquoise-inlaid masks worn by religious performers who appeared as Tlaloc in festivals held in the Aztec capitals (see figs. 2, 3). The cult of Tlaloc …
Description: The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes
On a clear, sunlit day in 1925, the psychologist Carl Jung stood by the small river that runs through the middle of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. Writing later about this experience, Jung described silent, blanket-wrapped figures on the flat roofs of the adobe buildings, absorbed by the sight of the sun, and by the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range rising above the sweeping plateau (see Scully essay in this book, fig. 5). An elderly Indian spoke unexpectedly from behind the visitor: “Do you not …
Description: The Ancient Americas: Art from Sacred Landscapes
Marking the Columbus quincentennial, this catalog of a traveling exhibition explores the common threads in fourteen pre-Columbian cultures, from the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec of Mexico and Guatemala through the Chavin culture (900–200 B.C.) of the Andes to the Moche, Chimu, and the Inca empire. The book contains essays from 26 scholars examining sacred geographies, myths, and ancient beliefs as they are transmitted through visual arts and architecture.
Print publication date December 1998 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780865591042
EISBN 9780300226997
Illustrations 427
Print Status in print
Description: Casas Grandes and the Ceramic Art of the Ancient Southwest
In the flourishing ancient Indian communities of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico, master potters created ceramic arts that are considered among the most accomplished in the world. The symbolic imagery and distinctive local styles of the region are unmistakable—simple volumetric shapes covered with complex, interlocking geometrical designs that are sometimes combined with bold abstract animal, human, and composite figures. Within this shared tradition are clearly identifiable local styles and symbolic vocabularies, and this lavishly illustrated book focuses on one of them: the ceramic works of the Casas Grandes-Paquimé area of northwest Mexico and adjoining parts of New Mexico and Arizona, c. A.D. 1200–1400.

For the first time on a comprehensive scale, expert art historians and an artist-teacher discuss the complex imagery of approximately ninety Casas Grandes vessels with fifty pieces representing other major styles of the Greater Southwest. Superb examples show polychromatic designs of real and mythological animals, together with abstract human figures and remarkably varied geometries, demonstrating the imaginative complexity and exceptional achievement of the Casas Grandes potters. Certain motifs reflect affinities with distant Mesoamerica, yet the authors show that these forms were absorbed into a visual vocabulary that reflected the unique artistic and cosmological outlook of Casas Grandes, within the native Southwestern cultural tradition.
Print publication date October 2005 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300111484
EISBN 9780300227000
Illustrations 240
Print Status in print
Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
When in early June 1991 Jereldine Redcorn and her friends in the Caddo Culture Club visited the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma, she saw for the first time a collection of beautifully shaped black and red earthenware bowls, bottles, jars, and other containers, elegantly burnished and finely engraved with abstract linear designs. These vessels had been recovered from archaeological sites widely distributed in old Caddo homelands, along the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma, in …
Description: Hero, Hawk, and Open Hand: American Indian Art of the Ancient Midwest and South
Along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers, the archaeological remains of earthen pyramids, plazas, large communities, and works of art and artifacts testify to Native American civilizations that thrived there between 3000 B.C. and A.D. 1500. This fascinating book presents exciting new information on the art and cultures of these ancient peoples and features hundreds of photographs of important artworks, artifacts, and ritual objects excavated from Amerindian archaeological sites.

Drawing on excavation findings and extensive research, the contributors to the book document a succession of distinct ancient populations in the pre-Columbian world of the American Midwest and Southeast. A team of interdisciplinary scholars examines the connections between archaeological remains of different regions and the themes, forms, and rituals that continue in specific tribes of today. The book also includes the personal reflections of contemporary Native Americans who discuss their perspectives on the significance of the fascinating and beautiful prehistoric artifacts as well as their own cultural practices today.
Print publication date October 2004 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300106015
EISBN 9780300225600
Illustrations 430
Print Status in print
Description: Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past
This volume documents the splendid accomplishments of Ancient West Mexico, and brings together some of its finest examples of sculptural art, including representations of people, animals and plants, as well as vessels and models of houses, ceremonial centres, ball games and ritual scenes. All the extraordinary earthenware figures illustrated here have been recovered from burial sites and shaft tombs. They represent a wide range of subjects — warriors, chieftains, ladies, acrobats, shamans, musicians, ball players, festival couples and bound prisoners — in a variety of styles from about 200 BC to AD 800 — that compose the artistic canon of Ancient West Mexico, a region encompassing the modern states of Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit.
Print publication date January 1998 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780500050927
EISBN 9780300222074
Illustrations 415
Print Status in print