Teacher's Resources - Questions and Answers
The path of inquiry suggested by the questions in each section will lead to answers within the “Cloth and Clay” web site. These answers will naturally point to more questions, which can be pursued through further research and through the listed activities. At least one link within the site is provided for each question to get you started on your own investigations.
The first and most important question to ask is “What do I see?” This places the learning process where it all begins – in the curious mind of the individual student.
Suggestions for links and comments are suggested below.
1. Step into the Past
Visual Art: As you look at the objects on the site, what kinds of imagery do you see? Analyze them according to these terms:
Perspective versus flattening: Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Moche/ vessel with messengers, Lambayeque/ tunic fragments
Kinds of colours: Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Paracas/Bird Vessel, Nasca/Crossknit Heads
Kinds of outlines: Museum Collections: Intermediate Area/Conte style Pedestal Base Bowl
Realism versus abstraction: Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Moche portrait head, Moche-Wari tunic
Repeat patterns versus images: Museum Collections: Intermediate Area/West Mexico Ballplayer shows both image: the figure, and pattern: the surface decorations
Science: What are some of the scientific techniques used by archaeologists and museum specialists?
Object Life Stories/Rediscovery: Nasca fringe fragment, Conte Style Pedestal Base Bowl
Learn How: Ceramics/Construction
Museum Collections/Zapotec/Opossum Vessel
History: In earlier centuries (18th – 20th) when archeology was a new discipline, what were some of the ways that objects found their way to museums? Life Stories/Rediscovery: Monkey Vase, Ballplayer figure, Chimu Loincloth Fragment
Geography: How do archeologists use geography to learn about ancient artifacts and to place them in context? Life Stories/Rediscovery: Teotihuacan Censer, Conte Style Pedestal Base Bowl
How does climate affect the discovery of textile remains as opposed to ceramic remains of a culture? Learn How: Ancient Techniques/Textiles/Raw Materials p.1
Social Sciences: On one level, archaeology can be viewed as a kind of detective work: you find the evidence and from it you must reconstruct the history of what happened. In the beginning years of the rediscovery of the Ancient American civilizations, what assumptions were made that have since been refuted? Exploring Landscapes/Jungle Lowlands/Physical Landscapes/Resources .
What might you “deduct” from the objects on the site about the cultures that created them? Use these and other terms to set criteria: violent/non-violent, primitive/sophisticated, traditional/innovative.
Language Arts: Archaeology uncovers stories of past civilizations and these stories are told from many different perspectives. How are the stories of the ancient Americans told?
Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Maya/Venison tamale plate and glyphs, Jalisco house model
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Politics p. 4
2. The Hero Twins and the Lords of Death
Visual Art: Look at the Nayarit Ballplayer (Let the Objects Speak) and the Cylinder Vase (Museum Collections/Mesoamerica//Maya). What kinds of 2-dimensional patterned and decorative elements are present on these 3-dimensional objects?
Social Sciences: Does the idea of a ballgame as a ritual seem different to you from the attitudes to sports in your own culture? In what way are your ballgames different from / similar to those of the Ancient Americans? Exploring Landscapes/Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Religion
Language Arts: Origin stories are often used to explain why things are the way they are now. Why do you think it may have been important to Ancient Americans to keep playing the ballgame? Exploring Landscapes/Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Religion
Where is there another traditional story on the site and what is its message? Learn How/Tiburcio’s mermaid story
3. The Feathered Serpent
Look at the Cloth and Clay ceramics and textiles. You will find there are some animals, birds, and insects that are identifiable. Others seem to be hybrid creatures, human/animal, or composites of two animals. Can you identify the creatures?
Let the Objects Speak: Conte Style Pedestal Base Bowl, Moche Tunic Fragment
Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Lambayeque/Tunic Fragment.
Visual Art: How realistically are the creatures represented? Realistic: Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/West Mexican/Colima Dog Effigy, Abstracted: Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Zapotec/Bat Effigy, Intermediate Area/Nicoya Vessel
Is perspective or shading used? Let the Objects Speak: Conte Style Pedestal Base Bowl, Museum Collections/Chimu/Loincloth
Are the creatures represented in profile or frontal aspect? Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Moche/Diety Stirrup Vessel, Chavin/Blackware Vessel
What are the colours used? Why were these chosen? Learn How: Textiles/Dyes, Ceramics/Completion
Mathematics: Are the creatures repeated in a pattern? Museum Collections: Moche/Loincloth
What symmetry operations can you find?
Translation or Glide: Chancay/Gauze Headcloth, Border Fragment
Reflection: Museum Collections: Chakchiquel huipil
Rotation: Museum Collections: Chimu Blackware Effigy Vessel
Social Sciences: What did the creatures symbolize and what cultural information does this give us?
Museum Collections: Ancient Peru/Nasca/Double Spouted Jar, Intermediate Area/Jaguar Vessels
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Physical Landscapes/Wildlife
Language Arts: What stories do the creatures tell?
Let the Objects Speak: Conte Style Pedestal Base Bowl, Spider Monkey Vessel,
Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Maya/Jaguar Vase, Zapotec/ Bat Effigy, Intermediate Area/Jaguar Vessels
4. Foods of the Americas
Visual Art: Which cloth and clay objects refer to the preparation and enjoyment of food?
Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Maya/Holmul Vase,Venison Tamales Plate, Zapotec/Opossum Vessel
Geography: What are the differences in environmental conditions in the CLOTH & CLAY regions?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands, Coastal Desert, Andean Highlands/Physical Landscapes
What strategies were and are employed in Central and South America to increase food production?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands, Coastal Desert, Andean Highlands/Physical Landscapes/Resources
History: What food plants and animals originated in the Americas? Which of these foods do you eat today?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands, Coastal Desert, Andean Highlands/Physical Landscapes/Resources
In cultures with no coin currency, foodstuffs and material items form the basis for trade between regions.
Which of these were used in Mesoamerican cultures?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Physical Landscapes/Resources
Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Teotihuacan
Which were used in the Andean civilizations?
Exploring Landscapes: Andean Highlands/Physical Landscapes/Resources/Verticality/ Camelids
Mathematics: In the absence of coin or paper currency, how may values be computed for the purpose of trade?
Teachers Resources/Ordering the Universe/Quipus
Language Arts: How do foodstuffs feature in the stories of the ancient Americas?
Learn How: Ceramics/Tiburcio’s story
Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/Cultural Landscapes/Religion
5. Ordering the Universe
Visual Art: Examine the Maya hieroglyphs on the Cloth and Clay ceramics. What do you notice about the style of their designs? Look at them in terms of shading, amount of detail, realism, and repeated elements.
Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Maya/Holmul Vase, Venison Tamales Plate, Jaguar Vase
Use the same criteria to examine the textiles on the site.
Science: Kinds of scientific endeavors engaged in by Mesoamericans and ancient Andeans include medicine, astronomy and calendar systems, and biology, especially strategies for environmental control. What evidence of these branches of science can you find in the Cloth and Clay objects?
Calendars: Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Politics/Alter 5, Tikal
Environment: Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/Physical Landscapes/Terrain p.4
Mathematics: What kinds of patterns and symmetries do you see in the textiles and ceramics? How do they resemble each other?
Dualism: Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/Cultural Landscapes/Worldview
Design resemblances: Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/Cultural Landscapes/Religion p.2
Which number system did the Classic Maya employ? (Base-20) What is an example of this system? Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Politics/Alter 5, Tikal
Which number system did the Inca and their predecessors employ? (Base-10) What is an example of this system? Teachers Resources/Ordering the Universe/Quipus
Social Sciences: How was the concept of dualism expressed in ancient Peruvian society?
Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/Cultural Landscapes/Worldview
Exploring Landscapes: Andean Highlands/Cultural Landscapes/Worldview
6. A Question of Ritual
Visual Art: What can you learn about the religious beliefs of the ancient American civilizations by examining the Cloth and Clay objects?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Cultural Landscapes/Religion p.2
Look at the kinds of creatures portrayed Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Physical Landscapes/Wildlife p.4
The ways creatures are portrayed Museum Collections: Intermediate Area/Pataky Vessel
The ways in which people are portrayed Museum Collections: Mesoamerica/Maya/Holmul Vase
Mathematics: How can geometry, symmetry and pattern be used in ritual ways to express the worldview of a culture?
Exploring Landscapes: Andean Highlands/Cultural Landscapes/Worldview p.2
Science: How did the different environmental conditions of the Mesoamerican and Andean regions influence the religious beliefs of the people who lived there?
Exploring Landscapes: Andean Highlands/Cultural Landscapes/Religion p.1
Language Arts: What stories about rituals and religions do the objects tell?
Let The Object Speak: Teotihuacan Incense Burner
Let The Object Speak: Nasca Fringe Fragment
7. Living in the Present
Visual Art: How are textiles and ceramics made today? How are the processes similar / different from the ancient technologies?
Learn How: Tiburcio and Nilda, Ancient Techniques
Mathematics: How can people ensure the continuation of traditional patterns and formulae in their culture without using computers or written records?
Learn How: Nilda Callañaupa/The Communities
Geography: What are the environments in Central and South America like today?
Exploring Landscapes: Jungle Lowlands/Physical Landscapes/Wildlife p. 2
Exploring Landscapes: Coastal Desert/El Niño
Exploring Landscapes: Andean Highlands/Physical Landscapes/Terrain p.3
Social Sciences: What can you learn about the people of the Ancient Americas from their descendants?
Learn How: Tiburcio Soteno Fernández/A Family’s Story
Learn How: Nilda Callañaupa/A Weaver’s Story