Nuestras Historias: Mesoamerican

By National Museum of Mexican Art

A common Mexican trait on either side of the U.S.–Mexico border is the passionate interest in Mexicanidad (Mexicanness) and what comprises Mexican identity. Perhaps this obsession to understand the concept of Mexicanidad comes from nearly five centuries of mestizaje – the interracial and cultural mixing that first occurred in Mesoamerica among Native Indigenous groups, European Spanish and enslaved Africans during the 1520s. By the 18th century, Mexican identity had developed. Mestizaje was the process that constructed it. The museum’s permanent collection showcases the dynamic and distinct Mexican stories in North America, and sheds light on why Mexican identity cannot be regarded as singular; its vast diversity defies any notion of one linear history. 

Bowl with excised entwined serpents, Late Classic (0600/0900) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Mesoamerica was a region with numerous ancient indigenous cultures beginning as early as 7000 BCE. It included parts of present-day Mexico and Central America. The ancient Mesoamerican artifacts in the museum’s collection underscore the immense cultural debt contemporary Mexicans owe to the many diverse civilizations that preceded the modern Mexican state.

Colima, Lobed Vessel in the Form of a Squash or Other Vegetal Motif (-0200) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Colima, Perro (Dog) (-0300) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Jalisco, Seated Dignitary with Crested Headdress (-0200) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Side View of Seated Dignitary with Crested Headdress by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Untitled - Colima, Seated Figure (-0300/-0200) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Colima, Seated Figure (Side View) (-0300/-0200) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Pareja sentada, figura masculina sosteniendo un instrumento de percussion) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Zacatecas, Pair of Seated Male and Female Shaman Effigies by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Seated Figure Holding Large Bowl, Terminal Preclassic (-0350/-0200) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Head fragment with smiling face, Anonymous, 0600/0900, From the collection of: National Museum of Mexican Art
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Aztec, Corn Goddess (Diosa del maíz) (1521) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Teotihuacan, Mask (Máscara) (0200/0900) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Mask (Mascara) (0200/0900) by AnonymousNational Museum of Mexican Art

Credits: Story

NMMA remains true to our founding mission: To showcase the beauty and richness of Mexican culture by sponsoring events and presenting exhibitions that exemplify the majestic variety of visual and performing arts in the Mexican culture; to develop, conserve and preserve a significant permanent collection of Mexican art; to encourage the professional development of Mexican artists; and, to offer arts-education programs.

Exhibition Curator:
Cesáreo Moreno - Visual Arts Director / Chief Curator

Exhibition Information Coordinator:
Zarai Zaragoza - Visual Arts Intern, Summer 2017

Project Team:
Raquel Aguiñaga-Martinez - Visual Arts Associate Director / Registrar
Barbara Engelskirchen - Chief Development Officer
Rebecca D. Meyers - Permanent Collection Curator
Dolores Mercado - Associate Curator

Photo Credits:
Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar - Photographer
Michael Tropea - Photographer
Rocio Caballero
Lee Fatheree
Galeria de Arte Mexicano
NMMA staff
Michael Tropea
Shuzo Uemoto
Tom Van Eynde

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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