THE ART OF ANCIENT MEXICO by Shirley Glubok

THE ART OF ANCIENT MEXICO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the series format, a highly attractive display of representative--or awesome or curious-Mexican artifacts, excluding only the Mayan. Included are numerous Aziec stone carvings, Mixle gold ornaments and codex illustrations, Toltec and Olmec statuary, and other figures of indefinite origin; the separate cultures are identified but, except for the Azlec, only incidentally characterized, and despite some general dating, there is no attempt to establish a sequence. This approach gives primacy to experiencing art over studying art, which is not inappropriate for the age level, but it also has a built-in limitation: the author tells only what she thinks the child wants to know or should know. Thus, ""four charming clay figures. . . give us a glimpse of life in a Mexican farming village"" but what each represents or is doing is not explained; explained further, a ""toylike clay animal"" with indubitable wheels is accompanied by this statement: ""the wheels on it are surprising because ancient Mexicans did not know how to use the wheel"": what is a child to make of it? One description (of Azlecs cutting out the heart of their sacrificial victims) seems gratuitously gory, especially since it's not essential. On the other hand, the objects are handsome to look at and interesting for their associations, and the inclusion of an ancient ball game is a natural for boys. In sum, no synthesis, but strong, direct exemplification.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1968
Publisher: Harper & Row