Art and Interregional Interchange in the Huasteca

Author(s): Kim Richter

Year: 2016


The Huasteca has long been portrayed as an isolated, peripheral culture of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. However, recent archaeological and art-historical research challenge this view. The artistic evidence from the Huasteca points to a prolonged cultural dialogue with neighbors along the Gulf Coast, as well as to stylistic and iconographic affinities with Central Mexico, Oaxaca, and the Maya region. Archaeological excavations, especially at the site of Tamtoc, in San Luis Potosi, have revealed a monumental urban center with an occupation spanning the Preclassic to Postclassic periods. Tamtoc’s Classic period monumental sculptures reveal ties to Classic Veracruz. During the Postclassic period, artistic connections expand into Central America and along the Gulf Coast extending to the Maya region and the American Southeast. Examples of Huastec artworks wherein these artistic similarities are manifested include portable artworks, such as codex-style incised shell pectorals, bones, and polychrome vessels, and non-portable works, such as codex-style red-on-cream murals and monumental anthropomorphic stone sculptures representing elite men and women. This evidence indicates that the Huastecs were active participants in shaping the artistic vocabulary shared across Mesoamerica, while simultaneously maintaining their own regional identity.

Cite this Record

Art and Interregional Interchange in the Huasteca. Kim Richter. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403635)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;