Top Ten Olmec Artifacts

Top Ten Olmec Artifacts

       The Olmec have been identified by what remains of their technically impressive and naturally expressive sculptures, which they crafted on both small and grand scales. The Olmec were an early culture (1,200-600 BC) and are thought to have been one of the first peoples to establish and exhibit many of the hallmarks of larger Mesoamerican civilization. The Olmec founded several powerful centers in what are now the Gulf Coastal Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco, a tropical lowland environment. The Olmec were not alone in this region and where surely influenced by their neighbors and by the older cultures that had previously lived in the area. One of the more unique remains of Olmec culture are the colossal, carved stone heads they created. Who the colossal heads were meant to represent is not known; however, it has been suggested that they were made to be portraits of rulers. Each head is different, with slight variations in expression and features. They are all adorned with helmet-like headdresses.

  1. Colossal Stone Heads

    Although the meaning and who the stone heads are meant to represent are unknown, it has been suggested that they were made to be portraits of rulers. Each head is different, with slight variations in expression and features, but they are all similar in the fact that they are adorned with helmet-like headdresses.
    Links: Top 100 Busts,
  2. Gold Plate Cloak

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    Links: Top 100 Gold Artifacts,
  3. La Venta Altar

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    Links: Top Ten Altars,
  4. Olmec Sculpture at La Venta Park, Villahermosa, Mexico

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  5. Las Limas Monument 1

    Las Limas Monument 1 is a greenstone figure of a youth holding a limp were-jaguar baby. Found in the Mexican state of Veracruz in the Olmec heartland, the statue is famous for its incised representations of Olmec supernaturals and is considered by some a “Rosetta stone” of Olmec religion. The largest known greenstone sculpture, it is also known as the Las Limas figure and the Señor de las Limas.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Limas_Monument_1,
  6. Jade Mask

    Description:
    Links: Top 100 Masks, Top Ten North American Masks, Top Ten South American Masks,
  7. The Wrestler (1200-800 BC)

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    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, Top Ten Wrestlers
  8. El Azuzul Twin

    This statue is located in El Azuzul, Mexico. El Azuzul is an Olmec archaeological site in Veracruz, Mexico, a few kilometers south of the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán complex and generally considered contemporary with it (perhaps 1100 to 800 BCE). Named for the ranch on which it is located, El Azuzul is part of the Loma del Zapote complex. The site occupies the higher elevations north of the confluence of two ancient river courses, a part of the Coatzacoalcos River system.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Azuzul,
  9. Jade Sculpture

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  10. Kunz Axe

    This 3,000 year old Olmec jade sculpture known as the Kunz Axe, is believed to represent a chief or shaman who transformed himself into a jaguar to partake in the animal’s power. Although shaped like an axe head, with an edge along the bottom, it is unlikely that this artifact was used except in ritual settings. At a height of 11 in (28 cm), it is one of the largest jade objects ever found in Mesoamerica.
    Links: Top Ten Axes, Top Ten Daggers/Knives, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olmec,
  11. Bonus: La Venta Mosaic

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  12. Bearded Head

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    Links: Top 100 Busts,
  13. Olmec Mirror

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  14. Olmec Mask

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    Links: Top 100 Masks, Top Ten North American MasksTop Ten South American Masks,
  15. Gold Necklaces and Terra Cotta Figure (550–950 AD)

    These Olmec cast gold necklaces and terra cotta figure were made sometime between 550–950 AD and now reside in the Gemological Institute of America.
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  16. Were-Jaguar Statue

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    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures,
  17. Statuettes

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  18. Olmec Celt and Figurine Cache

    This cache of figurines was found in La Venta Park, Mexico.
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  19. Olmec Jade Head Sculpture

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    Links: Top 100 Busts,
  20. Olmec Jade Jaguar

    This is a jade figurine of a jaguar, which was found in Mexico.
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  21. Bird Vessel (12th–9th Century BC)

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  22. Olmec Figurines (1,100-800 BC)

    Hollow clay figures like the one on the right are commonly referred to as “baby-faces” because of the plumpness of the limbs and the infant-like poses. They are quite distinctly Olmec in style and inspiration, but as a form were widespread in Mexico during the Preclassic Period. This particular example likely came from the early settlement of Tlapacoya, which was in the northern part of the Valley of Mexico. As with most seated “baby-faced” figures, this one is not wearing clothes. The plump arms and legs, small feet, and almond-shaped eyes are characteristic of the Olmec style.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, http://www.textilemuseum.ca/cloth_clay/research_olmec1.html,
  23. Ball Game Relieves
    El Tajin ruins Ball game place Relief El Tajin Mexico Latin America Central South America. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.tonina-players-of-the-maya-version-of-the-pan-mesoamerican-ballgame-1
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    Links: Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten North American Relieves, Top Ten South American Relieves,
  24. Olmec Figure (1,000 BC)

    This is an Olmec figure found on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.
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  25. Jade Figurine

    This figurine was found in Chiapas, Mexico.
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  26. Figurine

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  27. Figurine

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  28. Bonus: Bottle

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    Links: Top Ten Ancient Works of Pottery,
  29. Bonus: Painting of a Ruler in the Juxtlahuaca Cave

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  30. Links: Artifacts, Top 100 North American ArtifactsTop Ten South American Artifacts, http://www.textilemuseum.ca/cloth_clay/research_olmec.html, http://www.mcguinnessonline.com/gold/mexico.htm,

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