Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

Author: Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy Potts, and Kim N. Richter
Editor: J. Paul Getty Museum


Golden Kingdoms:

Luxury Arts in the Ancient Americas

Editors: Joanne Pillsbury, Timothy Potts, and Kim N. Richter
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum
Pages: 328
Illustrations: 428 in full color and 4 map
Dimensions: 9 5/8” x 11 3/4”
Format: Hardcover
IN: 9781606065488
Price: $59.95

This volume accompanies a major international loan exhibition featuring more than three 300 works of art, many rarely or never before seen in the United States. It traces the development of gold working and other luxury arts in the Americas from antiquity until the arrival of Europeans in the early 16th century. Presenting spectacular works from recent excavations in Peru, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico, this exhibition focuses on specific places and times— crucibles of innovation— where artistic exchange, rivalry, and creativity led to the production of some of the greatest works of art known from the ancient Americas.

The book and exhibition explore not only artistic practices but also the historical, cultural, social, and political conditions in which luxury arts were produced and circulated, alongside their religious meanings and ritual functions. Link to the eponymous exhibition page

Golden Kingdoms creates new understandings of ancient American art through a thematic exploration of indigenous ideas of value and luxury. Central to the book is the idea of the exchange of materials and ideas across regions and across time: works of great value would often be transported over long distances, or passed down over generations, in both cases attracting new audiences and inspiring new artists. The idea of exchange is at the intellectual heart of this volume, researched and written by 20 scholars based in the United States and Latin America.

Joanne Pillsbury is the Andrall E. Pearson Curator in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Timothy Potts is director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Kim N. Richter is senior research specialist in the Director’s Office at the Getty Research Institute.