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Design for Eternity Book Cover

Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas

Pillsbury, Joanne, Patricia Joan Sarro, James Doyle, and Juliet Wiersema
2015
100 pages
87 illustrations
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From the first millennium B.C. until the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century, artists from across the ancient Americas created small-scale architectural effigies to be placed in the tombs of important individuals. These works range from highly abstracted, minimalist representations of temples and houses to elaborate complexes populated with figures, conveying a rich sense of ancient ritual and daily life. Although often called models, these effigies were not created as prototypes for structures, but rather to serve as components of funerary practices that conveyed beliefs about an afterlife.

Design for Eternity is the first publication in English to explore the full variety of these exquisite architectural works. The vivid illustrations and insightful essays focus on the concepts embodied in architectural representations and the role these intriguing sculptures played in mediating relationships among the living, the dead, and the divine.

Met Art in Publication

Stirrup-spout bottle with palace scene, Chimú artist(s), Silver, Chimú
1000–1470 CE
Architectural Model, Greenstone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Model of a house, Pottery
ca. 1750–1700 B.C.
Model of a Granary with Scribes, Wood, plaster, paint, linen, grain
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Model of a Porch and Garden, Wood, paint, copper
ca. 1981–1975 B.C.
Cult vessel in the form of a tower with cylinder seal impressions near the top, Ceramic
ca. 19th century BCE
Central Watchtower, Earthenware with green lead glaze, China
China
1st–early 3rd century
Vessel with ritual scene, Recuay artist(s), Ceramic, slip, Recuay
200–700 CE
House Model, Ceramic, slip, Nayarit
Nayarit
100 BCE–200 CE
House Model, Ceramic, slip, Nayarit
Nayarit
300 BCE–300 CE
Architectural Model with Figure, Greenstone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Architectural Model with Figures, Greenstone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Architectural Model, Stone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Architectural Model, Stone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Architectural Model, Greenstone, Mezcala
Mezcala
200 BCE–500 CE
Temple Model, Ceramic, Aztec
Aztec
1400–1521
Temple Model, Ceramic, Aztec
Aztec
1400–1521
Architectural Vessel, Ceramic, Moche
Moche
400–600 CE

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Citation

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Pillsbury, Joanne, Patricia Joan Sarro, James Alan Doyle, and Juliet Benham Wiersema. 2015. Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas [Exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 26, 2015-September 18, 2016]. New York: the Metropolitan Museum of Art.