This image was created by an indigenous painter in central Mexico and accompanies a written description of the conquest of Tenochtitlan, penned in both Spanish and Nahuatl in the Florentine Codex. The Florentine Codex is one of the fullest Nahuatl descriptions of the conquest. The scene shows Malintzin in the act of translating. She sits upon a palace roof with Cortés. Her... Read More »
In the late 17th century, an anonymous artist did a series of impromptu sketches and set pieces showing Khoikhoi at the Cape of Good Hope. The artist seems to have been interested in capturing natural movement and depicting actual articles of Khoikhoi clothing or activities in which they engaged, rather than falling back on the stereotypes that tended to be perpetuated in European books about... Read More »
This carpet is a specific type of carpet woven in the Islamic world called a sajjadah or prayer rug. Typically, these carpets will have one or more arches decorating its center field representing early mosque architecture or the mihrab a niche in a wall that directs the worshipper towards the holy site of Mecca. Worshippers use these types of rugs to make their daily prayers and orient... Read More »
This cartoon from the East German weekly magazine Eulenspiegel (a weekly magazine of humor and satire), is poking fun at the possibility of German reunification. Once the Berlin Wall was torn down, unification became the goal of most (but not all) Germans on both sides of the border. The caption under the cartoon reads: "A common European home - but, only when I can collect the rent!" The... Read More »
This print by Robert Dobb depicts a pirate being hanged at Execution Dock in Wapping, London's largest seafaring neighborhood. Piracy was a capital offense in the 18th century and British authorities punished maritime criminals in Wapping in the hope that the gruesome spectacle would have a broad social effect and would discourage any would-be pirates. The well-dressed horseman in the bottom-... Read More »
These depictions show the Festival of the Supreme Being during the French Revolution, a massive pageant staged by Jacques–Louis David on 8 June 1794, in open air on the "Field of Reunion," formerly the royal army’s parade ground. At David’s orders, a huge mountain was erected on the field, as seen in this engraving.
This Chinese animal figure belongs to the rich collections of the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo in Buenos Aires. Depicting a dragon, the piece dates back to the fourteenth century. It stands in the dining room of a lavishly decorated mansion that once belonged to the family of Matías Errazúriz and Josefina de Alvea. The couple wed in the late-1800s, and began filling their home with... Read More »