Ancient American Empires: The Art of the Inka and Aztec

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In the early sixteenth century, the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mesoamerica and South America in search of wealth and fame. What they found, though, were the highly complex empires of the Mexica (now known as the Aztec) of Mesoamerica and the Inka of South America. Through their sensationalized writings, the Spanish left a legacy of misunderstandings and misinformation about these ancient American cultures. By using first-hand accounts and objects from the VMFA’s collection, this talk engages with sixteenth-century colonial accounts and considers them from the view of the Mexica and Inka.