Pre-Columbian, Olmec culture, ca. 1150 to 550 BCE. Hand-carved from black-green serpentine, a stone so named because of its snakeskin-like appearance, this is a charming figure of a baby, standing, with its hands raised to its head, its mouth open as if yelling for attention. The baby has the characteristically chubby body, with layers of fat hanging down from its waist over its short legs. The Olmec are famous for their human depictions; as the first major civilization in this fertile area, their artwork inspired the civilizations that came after them to the point that we think some of them even revered Olmec artwork and kept it as heirlooms. Infants are a recurring theme from Olmec art, where humans are often depicted with "baby face," with plump bodies and chubby, pouty facial features. The shape of their heads - like this one - has been attributed to deliberate skull shaping. Size: 1.05" W x 2.25" H (2.7 cm x 5.7 cm); 3.25" H (8.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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