**Originally Listed At $1200**
Pre-Columbian, southern Mexico / Guatemala, Olmec culture, ca. 1150 to 550 BCE. A fierce greenstone carving of a standing human figure. Made using string cutting, drilling, and rubbing with sandstone as an abrasive, the figure has a distinctive face, with the classic Olmec mouth and lips. Drilled holes through the ears may have once held gold rings or feathered decoration. The hands are crossed over the stomach; deeply drilled depressions on the chest may have once had inlays to form breasts. The head is large relative to the body, which stands on short, squat legs. Size: 1.65" W x 3.6" H (4.2 cm x 9.1 cm) Size: 1.65" W x 3.6" H (4.2 cm x 9.1 cm)
The Olmec are the ancestors of all Mesoamerican civilizations, and their artistic style, practiced in the tropical lowlands of south central Mexico and diffused outward through extensive trade networks that stretched into northern Mexico and central America, were inspirational for those who came after. The Olmec style became synonymous with elite status in the highlands. They created enormous stone heads, probably the first thing many of us think of when we remember the Olmec, but they also made handheld figures like this one - probably totems or divinities for homes or particular temples. They lacked a written language, and as a result, we may never know the definitive meaning of their exceptional artwork.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex Adeon Gallery, Chicago, USA
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