These sketches are from the “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC. The items are from the permanent collection, and the exhibit is an exquisite display of objects from a wide array of eras and locales. Seeing all the pieces its quite incredible to think about the artists weaving, carving, and painting these intricate meaning-laden objects.
The top left sketch here is from the bottom of a bowl with tripod legs, and according to the Brooklyn Museum from Veracruz, Mexico from the years 1,000-1,500. The proportions of the sketch aren’t perfect, but it shows how the image contains many symbols suggestive of sacrifice, such as a serrated knife under the skull. I was drawn to the image for its strangely Simpson-esque profile, as well as the way the artist used the curved lines and shading to fill up the round shape and to develop a contrast of positive and negative space that accentuated the figure of the head in the center.
The bottom left sketch is of a bisected Aztec statue with one side representing life and the other death.