The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Pre-Columbian America

What is Pre-Columbian art?

Pre-Columbian art is a broad term given to the art of Mesoamerica (which includes Mexico and Central America) and South America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. It includes the art of large cultures such as the Maya, Aztecs, and Inca.

The following dates provide a general outline of major Pre-Columbian cultures:

Culture Dates Location
Olmec* c. 1200–400 B.C.E. South, Central Mexico
Nazca* c. 200 b.c.e. – 600 C.E. Pre-Inca Peru
Moche c. 200 – 600 C.E. Pre-Inca Peru
Teotihuacan c. 1 c.e. – 750 C.E. Mexico
Mayan c. 250–1521 C.E. Mexico and Central America
Aztec c. 1000–1521 C.E. Mexico and Guatemala
Inca* c. 1400–1530 C.E. Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Chile


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