Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas


 Humboldt
Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Alexander von Humboldt,
Vues des cordillères et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique.

Paris: Schoell, 1810.

Humboldt's volume is elaborate and methodically planned. In the text and nearly seventy plates included in the volume, Humboldt gives his readers a thorough tour of the antiquities of Mexico and Peru. He also printed selections from important early codices in European collections.

Illustrations of vistas, of peoples, and of antiquities were executed under Humboldt's supervision with consummate care. Humboldt sought to present artifacts in their natural contexts, in order to imply the ways in which nature and culture work together toward a higher unity. For Humboldt, the discovery of New World antiquities was cause for a celebration of human genius, but also a colonialist regret at the decline of non-European civilizations.

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

Exhibition Contents | Introduction | Essays | Bibliography & Links


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