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The Cover
September 24, 2003

Cylinder vase

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(12):1553. doi:10.1001/jama.290.12.1553

The past century or so has seen great progress in the study of Mesoamerican art or, as it is sometimes called, Pre-Columbian art. Formerly thought of more in terms of "artifact," the native art of the Middle Americas is now recognized as "art" in its own right, obeying its own laws of aesthetics. It also reflects its contemporary culture, including the closely entwined religion and politics as manifested in its ruling nobility and divinities. The art itself, as described in a well-known art history textbook, is characterized by its "consistency, conservatism, and conventionality." (de la Croix H, Tansey RG, Kirkpatrick D, eds. Gardner's Art Through the Ages. 9th ed. Orlando, Fla: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; 1991.)

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