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Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
People of all ages engage in solitary, contemplative activities or social interactions such as cooking and eating tamales in this model house. The steeply pitched roof painted with geometric patterns gives clues to the appearance of the houses of the ancient Nayarit in western Mexico. However, archaeological evidence suggests the ancient Nayarit did not live in two-story dwellings. This leads scholars to conclude this sculpture is conceptual - meaning it represents ideas and beliefs, rather than an architecturally accurate depiction. The Nayarit believed only a slight barrier separated the realms of the living and the dead. The lower level here is the underworld, where the activities of departed ancestors closely mirror those of the living depicted above. This sculpture was placed in a tomb along with food, drink, and other offerings as a means of ensuring the living and the deceased remained connected. The contemporary Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico and Central America, when families visit cemeteries to make offerings and feast, sing, and dance with the souls of their ancestors, reflects similar beliefs.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009