A Tiahuanaco Painted Ceramic Kero with Angular Snake Images
Tiwanaku (Spanish: Tiahuanaco or Tiahuanacu) is a Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia near Lake Titicaca and one of the largest sites in South America. Surface remains currently cover around 4 square kilometers and include decorated ceramics, monumental structures, and megalithic blocks. The site’s population probably peaked around AD 800 with 10,000 to 20,000 people. A statistical assessment of reliable radiocarbon dates estimates that the site was founded around AD 110 (50–170, 68% probability), a date supported by the lack of ceramic styles from earlier periods.
The site was first recorded in written history in 1549 by Spanish conquistador Pedro Cieza de León while searching for the southern Inca capital of Qullasuyus
Pre-Columbian art refers to the visual arts of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, North, Central, and South Americas until the late 15th and early 16th centuries, and the time period marked by Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.
Pre-Columbian art thrived throughout the Americas from at least 13,000 BC to the European conquests, and continued for a time afterwards. Many Pre-Columbian cultures did not have writing systems, so visual art expressed cosmologies, world views, religion, and philosophy of these cultures, as well as serving as mnemonic devices.
During the period before and after European exploration and conquest of the Americas, indigenous native cultures produced a wide variety of visual arts, including painting on textiles, hides, rock and cave surfaces, bodies especially faces, ceramics, architectural features including interior murals, wood panels, and other available surfaces. For many of these cultures, the visual arts went beyond physical appearance and served as active extensions of their owners and indices of the divine.