The Cover Section Editor: M.
Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
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.)
Southgate MT. Cylinder vase. JAMA. 2003;290(12):1553. doi:10.1001/jama.290.12.1553