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Mexico is known worldwide for its folk art traditions, mostly derived from the indigenous and Spanish crafts. The archeological setting in Teotihuacan is the largest in America and corresponds to a civilization that florished in the Valley of Mexico between the 200 B. C. and 250 A. D. The ruins show the remainders of a city built along the Alley of the Dead. Among its main buildings, the 5 levels 65 meters high Sun Pyramid and the smaller Moon Pyramid, with 4 levels. Ancient Aztec art was primarily a form of religious expression and a means for paying tribute to their gods.
In addition, various forms of Aztec art were used to assist in communication. Pottery of all shapes and sizes depicted a variety of designs that were meaningful to the Aztec culture and religion. They typically were meant to depict or pay reverence to specific Aztec gods or to represent an Aztec tribe. In addition to the pottery made of clay, the Aztecs showed their deep religion through a variety of sculptures carved out of stone.
In the 16th century, two cultures mixed: the native Mesoamerican cultures and the Spanish.
This phenomenon lasted from the fall of the Aztec empire, in 1521, to the end of the Spanish domination, in 1821. Colorfully embroidered cotton garments, cotton or wool shawls and outer garments, and colorful baskets and rugs are seen everywhere. Between the Spanish conquest and the early Twentieth Century, Mexican fine arts were largely in imitation of European traditions. After the Mexican Revolution, a new generation of Mexican artists led a vibrant national movement that incorporated political, historic, and folk themes in their work.
The painters Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros became world famous for their grand scale murals, often displaying clear social messages. Rufino Tamayo and Frida Kahlo produced more personal works with abstract elements. The literature of Mexico originated from the concepts of the American and Spanish settlements of Mesoamerica. Outstanding colonial writers and poets include Juan Ruiz de Alarcon and Juana Ines de la Cruz. Folk dances are regarded to be one of the most important features of Mexican culture.
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