OVERVIEW OF THE PRE-COLUMBIAN GALLERY
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts owns 208 Pre-Columbian ceramic vessels, textiles, sculptures and metalwork objects from Meso, Central and South America. The permanent collection is especially rich in Peruvian gold jewelry and Mayan ceramics. This is the first time the collection has been on permanent display.
Mr. and Mrs. Sandford G. Etherington gave VMFA 87 ancient South American objects from 1979 until 1984. The Etherington Collection includes textiles, metalwork and ceramics. It includes objects from 11 ancient South American cultures, representing the 3,000 year period from the Chavin culture of 1500 B.C. until the Spanish Conquest of the Incan Empire after 1500 A.D.
OVERVIEW OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN GALLERY
The Ancient American Art gallery features the Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection of Native American Art, which includes 150 North American Indian ceramics, baskets and rugs ranging from the Pacific Northwest coast to the U.S. Southwest tribes. In lending their stellar collection to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Robert and Nancy Nooter have enabled visitors to see and explore the artistic masterpieces of the indigenous peoples of North America. The Nooter collection is further complemented with several pieces of Tlingit and Haida art from the museum’s permanent collection. The works in the gallery are from roughly 50 different cultures and feature pieces from each major geographic region in North America: the North, Pacific Northwest Coast, Southwest, West and East. The American Southwest and Pacific Northwest Coast are particularly emphasized.
The objects are displayed as artworks, rather than artifacts, which encourages viewers to consider the artists and the creative process. Although the artists are anonymous, human hands created each piece, working in artistic traditions that span centuries before their time.
Dr. Lee Anne Hurt Chesterfield
Assistant Curator of Ancient American Art