Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Olmec, ca. 1150 to 500 BCE. A fine bead carved from mottled green serpentine, depicting the head of a were-jaguar on the front, flat on the verso, and hand-drilled from top to bottom for attachment or suspension. The visage possesses hallmark Olmec features including a misshapen head indicative of artificial cranial deformation that scholars believe the Olmec practiced, a jowly "babyface" visage with narrow slanted eyes punctuated by recessed circular marks at the outer corners, a wide nose with delineated nostrils, and a downturned open jaguar-like mouth also punctuated with partially drilled circular marks at the corners. A superb example from the earliest known Pre-Columbian civilization. Size: 1.25" W x 1.375" H (3.2 cm x 3.5 cm)
Scholars have demonstrated that the Olmec greatly influenced the subsequent Maya and Aztec peoples. Cultural practices and manifestations such as colossal stone sculptures, sacred complexes, the ceremonial chocolate drink, ball games, and zoomorphic deities were passed on from this first major Mesoamerican civilzation to those who followed.
Provenance: ex-private Lexington, Kentucky, USA collection
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