The Art and Architecture of Ancient America: The Mexican, Maya, and Andean Peoples

By George Kubler | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

THE greater part of these chapters was originally prepared for lectures and seminars beginning in 1938 at Yale University, where the opportunity for studies of the art of American antiquity was first made possible by the late Dean E. V. Meehs and my colleagues in the Department of the History of Art. Other occasions to develop the treatment of the pre-Columbian past, as part of the history of art rather than as anthropology, which is the more usual treatment in American universities, were afforded me at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, in Lima, and at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Mexico City.

Various visits to Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico were made possible by the Smithsonian Institution in 1948-9, when I represented the Institute of Social Anthropology in Lima; in 1951 and 1956, when Unesco engaged me to study the reconstruction of the monuments devastated in Cuzco by the earthquake of 195o; and in 1958 when I held a Smith-Mundt award for Mexico.

I am grateful to Professor Nikolaus Pevsner and the publishers for their generous efforts in securing new drawings for many text figures from K. F. Rowland, M.S.I.A., drawings for the maps from Donald Bell-Scott, and for the chronological tables from Sheila Waters. Professor Pevsner showed great patience as Editor of the Pelican History of Art in waiting so long for this manuscript, of which the first deadline fell in 1951. To him I am further indebted for an introduction at Cambridge University, where I was able to work in 1957 as a guest of King's College, and where G. H. S. Bushnell, Curator of the University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, kindly let me have the run of the Haddon Library, during the last months of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship awarded in 1956-7.

For advice and correction on many points I have benefited flora conversations and correspondence with Junius Bird, G. H. S. Bushnell, Donald Collier, Gordon Ekholm, Alfred Kidder II, Tatiana Proskouriakoff, John H. Rowe, Linton Satterthwaite, Jr, w. Duncan Strong, and Gordon Willey, whose views have an authority gained in many years' field experience. The outsider from other fields of study never can assume this authority: it belongs only to the field archaeologist who works both in detail and in broad reconnaissance, and it may appear more in his conversation than in his writings.

Much complicated correspondence about photographs was carried on for me by Mary Margaret Collier, and I am obliged to Mrs H. Gordon Sweet for her aid in clarifying the text. Mrs Patricia Shillabeer Beach and Mrs Amelia Sudela typed long hours. Friends and students in Yale College - Colin Eisler, Terence Keenan, Joseph Baird, and Joseph Lyman - helped with many matters of detail. John Hoag, the Art Librarian at Yale, helped repeatedly in negotiations for photographs, and Helen Chillman allowed me to borrow negatives and prints from the University collections for many of these illustrations.

In Lima, my friend Abraham Guillén was the most reliable source of photographs. In Mexico City, the head archivist of the photograph collections in the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Señor Ramón Sánchez Espinosa, was unfailingly helpful.

-xxv-

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