The collection: Americas

Almost 2000 items make up this collection of material from the American continent. These pieces are located in four cases; The Pacific Rim, Northwest Coast, the Subarctic, the Plains, Southwest USA, Mexico, Central and South America and the Amazon.

A view of the Americas display A view of the Americas display

Objects of note include a Spanish colonial-style leather coat from Mexico that was possibly made in the 18th century. Other examples of traditional clothing found in the gallery come from Mexico and Guatemala. The collection also contains a small number of Pre-Columbian ceramics from Peru and a large amount of material from the Amazon rainforest of Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Guyana.

Aztec clay stamp

Aztec clay stamp (Accession 283/1990/34) h.44mm

This stamp is press moulded from terracotta and fired in a hot over. It depicts a warrior. It dates to approximately the 15th century. However, clay stamps had already been in use 2000 years prior to the Aztecs making them! Baked hard, the stamp would have been sold in the markets. Many of them are found in the archaeological record and are decorated with various geometric designs, animals and people. It’s likely that they were dipped in dye to decorate the body, cloth, even items of clothing and pottery.