Ancient America

The rather small but exquisite collection of Ancient American art in the Museum Rietberg focuses mainly on Mesoamerica and Peru. Art from the Northwest coast is also well represented. The regions of the Arctic, the Southeast, and the Southwest are each represented with a small number of works.

The museum houses a particularly comprehensive collection of Mexican art that covers all periods and cultural areas. Among the highlights are an Aztec sculpture of a rattlesnake that was brought to Europe by the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, a Tarascan chair in the shape of a coyote from western Mexico, and two stone reliefs representing Mayan princes.

With the partial acquisition of the Carmen Dolores Oechsle collection, the collection of art from Ancient Peru was significantly expanded and its quality increased. The Museum is thus able to present outstanding ceramics and textiles from all cultural periods of ancient Peru.