Considered “ancient” in this central region and beyond, the waxing and waning of cultures and art styles – in an area defined by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers – continued until the Islamic period, around the 6th century AD. With great skill, Near Eastern artisans worked with semi-precious and non-precious stones, copper alloy, gold, and silver to create figures of animals, worshipers, rulers, and deities, as well as vessels and adornments . Some anthropomorphic figures were comprised of multiple materials – chlorite, limestone, lapis lazuli, and so on – showing an early appreciation for polychromy. Click to view this Gallery


The Egyptian aesthetic evolved over three millennia. The simplicity of objects from the Predynastic Period led to a style based on naturalism as early as the third millennium BC. As the society matured, a succession of kingdoms under the aegis of pharaohs followed. Kings and nobles, alike were intent on preserving their images in durable works of art. Click to view this Gallery


Civilizations in Mexico, Central and South America rose and fell during a period of some 3,000 ears. The artisans worked in every medium found in their environments. Each culture developed its own unique style and each presents its own set of formats and motifs. Click to view this Gallery


The first civilization of Mesoamerica, the Olmec, created monumental stone sculptures as well as precious objects in jade and terracotta. The Olmec had a complex worldview and their works embody their understanding of the planes of existence and control of natural forces. The Maya, who occupied vast territories from Mexico down through Central America, are justly famous for their unique works of jade, stone, and painted vases with scenes of mythology and historical events. Click to view this Gallery


Art of the Greeks and Romans falls under an all-encompassing term, “Classical”. When Rome conquered Greece, Egypt, and beyond, it welcomed the addition of various indigenous artistic traditions to its own fledgling one. Click to view this Gallery