Art of the Classic Period

Rex Koontz

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Art of the Classic Period

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology by Region
  • History of Art



The Mesoamerican Classic period (ca. 250–900 ad ) is characterized by the expansion of urban elite artistic cultures across the region. The basic characteristics of Classic-period elite art were first developed in the preceding Preclassic period. Essential Classic-period monument types such as the stela and the relief panel as well as fundamental urban architectural forms like the pyramid and plaza were all created in the Preclassic period. These and related forms were further developed with the expansion of Mesoamerican urbanism. This article discusses small-scale objects and prestige materials, Teotihuacan's art and architecture, Teotihuacan's place in Mesoamerica, image and text in eastern Mesoamerica and Oaxaca, and Late Classic innovations.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; Classic period; elite art; urbanism; prestige materials; Teotihuacan; Oaxaca; Late Classic period

Article.  3991 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; History of Art

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