ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The Pre-Columbian Collection illustrates the wide range of artistic and cultural legacies that arose across the pre-Columbian world.  Masterpieces include Olmec, Mayan, Aztec (Mexica), and Teotihuacán masks, figures, and vessels used in rituals and ceremonies.  A strong and representative selection of works from Mesoamerica (especially the Guerrero region of Mexico) as well as from the Intermediate Area, a zone that extends roughly from modern Nicaragua to Ecuador, anchor the collection.  The Intermediate Area is increasingly believed by archaeologists and art historians to have played a vital (if often neglected) role in the fashioning of the pre-Columbian world and the diffusion of ideas, goods, and people between better-known civilizations in Mesoamerica and in the South American Andes.  A portion of the Pre-Columbian Collection is owned by the Foundation, and a portion is a promised gift of Jan T. and Marica Vilcek to the Vilcek Foundation.