Central America

The following list includes all of the locations in Central America represented in the Logan Museum Collections.

Mexico: West Coast
Mexico: Central
Mexico: Veracruz
Mexico: Oaxaca
Yucatan: Guatemala
Costa Rica
Contemporary Peoples

Mexico: West Coast

The Chupícuaro were one of the early peoples of West Mexico, the site of the village of Chupícuaro being located between Mexico City and the west coast. Since 1946, the village has been inundated after the construction of the Solís Dam. Chupícuaro figures are strongly colored, often solid and flattened, with patterns emulating woven textiles.

The Logan Museum has a small collection of Chupícuaro figures and ceramics.

The Jalisco culture, named for the modern state, was located in West Mexico along the Pacific coast west of modern-day Mexico City. Jalisco figures appear to be caricatures of human life rather than the theocratic art of other Mexican cultures, and as such seem much more expressive. However, these figures clearly served a religious purpose, as they were usually placed in tombs.

The Logan Museum has small number of Jalisco figures, as well as some utilitarian ceramics.

The Colima culture, named for the modern state, was located along the Pacific coast west of Mexico City. Their art was highly expressive, caricatures of daily life more than theocratic representations of deities, although these figures were usually placed in tombs, suggesting a religious function. The figures often have either a deep red burnished slip, or a buff finish. 

The Logan Museum has a variety of Colima ceramics, primarily figural.

The Nayarit culture, named for the modern region, was located along the Pacific coast of Mexico, northwest of modern-day Mexico City. The figures in Nayarit art are often comic or grotesque, and indicate nothing of the religious beliefs of the people. Instead they depict everyday people, divided into a distinct social class structure. This is misleading, however, as these figure were all placed in tombs.

The Logan Museum's collection of Nayarit objects includes several figurines and a variety of utilitarian ceramics. 

Mexico: Central

Early Mexico
The earliest cultures in central and western Mexico are known as the Tlatilco, named after a clay pit on the outskirts of Mexico City, the Michoacán to the west, and the Guerrero to the southwest, centered around the city of Mezcala. 

The Logan Museum possesses a small collection of early central and western Mexican artifacts.

The city-state of Teotihuácan occupied the area to the northeast of modern-day Mexico City. Lasting nearly a thousand years, the culture was active from about 150 BC until 750 AD. Between 350 and 650 AD, Teotihuácan covered nearly 9 square miles and housed 200,000 inhabitants, making it the largest urban area in the Americas at that time.

The Logan Museum possesses numerous objects from the Teotihuácan culture, mostly ceramics.

The Aztec culture was located in Central Mexico, south of Mexico City. Heirs to a long tradition of central Mexican cultural development, the Aztecs were a relatively modern culture, arising around 1350 and declining with the arrival of the Spaniards after 1521.

The Logan Museum has small collection of Aztec artifacts including stone tools and figures, a boundary marker, and ceramics.

Mexico: Veracruz

The Olmec culture was the earliest of the West Mexican cultures. Centered along the Gulf Coast southeast of Mexico City, the Olmecs flourished between 1200 and 600 BC. Highland Olmec ceramics were low-fired, and often have a rough finish deeply incised with geometric designs.

The Logan Museum's collection of Olmec artifacts consists mostly of small ceramics.

"Remojadas" refers generally to the early peoples around the village of Las Remojadas, in the  Veracruz region along the central Gulf Coast of Mexico. They are known particularly for their large hollow ceramic figures, most of whom are depicted smiling.

The Logan Museum has an impressive variety of Remojadas figures and other ceramics.

The site at El Tajín lies a short distance inland from the Gulf of Mexico northeast of modern-day Mexico City. Tajín is associated with the Huastec culture. The site at Tajín dates to the later history of the Huastec culture, from about 200 to 900 AD. El Tajín is considered the center of Mesoamerican ballplaying, with twelve courts. We have included an hacha and a palma from the Veracruz region, as such objects appear to have had some ritual significance attached to ballplaying.

The Logan Museum has several objects from the Tajín, including some ballplaying yokes and fragments, as well as a small number of ceramics.

The classic culture of the central gulf coast of Mexico is referred to as "Veracruz", after the modern state which embraces the majority of their terrain. El Tajín was the principal site, treated separately on this website. Another substyle, Remojadas, is also treated separately. This page considers objects which derive from this region, but which have not been definitively associated with either of the aforementioned centers.

The Logan Museum has numerous objects from the Veracruz, largely ceramics.

Mexico: Oaxaca

The Mixtecs were the last of the great cultures centered around Oaxaca. The culture arose around 1200 and lasted until about 1525.

The Logan Museum's collection includes a small number of Mixtec ceramics.

Monte Alban
The site of Monte Albán is located just west of modern-day Oaxaca. The early Zapotec culture that grew there represents one of the first established civilizations in the area, ultimately giving rise to the Zapotecs of the modern era. Monte Albán is best known for clay urns in the form of deities. These were meant to represent the attributes and specific deities associated with the deceased.

The Logan Museum has a variety of objects from the culture which originated at Monte Albán.

Yucatan: Guatemala

The Maya are the indigenous culture of the  Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala. The Maya emerged from a simple agricultural heritage about 250 BC to become the predominant civilization of Central America. The Mayan tradition continues, however, to the present day, and modern ethnographic material for the Maya can be viewed on the Modern Maya page.

The Logan Museum has an extensive collection of Maya artifacts from all periods, including an impressive array of figurines from the Jaina Islands.

Costa Rica

The Nicoya culture was centered in the north- western part of Costa Rica from around 600 to 1100 AD. During this period numerous painting styles developed.

The Logan Museum collections include a small number of Nicoya ceramics.

The Diquis culture was located in the southwestern part of Costa Rica. The culture arose around 600 and declined about 1100.

The Diquis culture was located in the southwestern part of Costa Rica. The culture arose around 600 and declined about 1100.

Atlantic Watershed
The Atlantic Watershed of Costa Rica was home to a succession of little-understood cultures. Their art, however, has come down to us in many forms, and despite being heavily influenced from both north and south, has several unique types, such as the La Selva tripod pots and the stone metate, or grinding stones.

The Logan Museum collections include a variety of ceramics from the Atlantic watershed of Costa Rica.


The Coclé culture was situated in modern-day Panama. Roughly contemporary with the Diquis culture to the north, the Coclé arose around 500 AD and lasted until 1000. 

The Logan Museum has numerous objects from the Coclé, distinguished by their lively asymmetrical animal forms.

Contemporary Peoples

Modern Maya
The modern Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala are the descendants of a long and storied culture extending back into the 3rd century BC. The modern Maya represent a continuing tradition which survived the Spanish occupation to form a distinct ethnic group to this day.

The Logan Museum has a number of ethnographic materials, primarily textiles, from the modern Maya.

Modern Panama
Panama is the southernmost of the Central American nations, being influenced by both Central and South American cultures.

The Logan Museum has numerous modern Panamanian ethnographic objects including ceramics and textiles.

Contemporary Peoples
The peoples of Mexico retain their regional distinctiveness, derived from their long cultural histories. 

The Logan Museum has a variety of contemporary Mexican colonial ethnographic materials, reflecting the diversity of the Mexican cultural heritage.