La Venta Park, Tabasco--page 4 of four pages)

flourished 900-400 BCE

The grandmother

The kneeling woman holds a plate as an offering. She wears a unique headdress and a cape on her back.

An acrobat or contortionist

Note his very small limbs. See also the acrobat at the National Museum of Anthropology.

The Governor

Symbolic elements are depicted on his chest and belt.

The Governor

Horizontal bands are designed on the back of his cape.

A jaguar


A mythological being with jaguar claws and flaming eyebrows


Monument of the cloven head

Figures in Olmec art often have cleft heads, "perhaps representing some congenital abnormality, but certainly symbolizing the place where corn emerges" (Coe and Koontz 64).

Mosaic pavements

Three rectangular pavements (about 15 by 20 feet) were found at La Venta. Each has "about 485 blocks of serpentine, laid in the form of a highly abstract jaguar mask. Certain details were left open and emphasized by filling with colored clays. Strange as it may seem, these were offerings, as they were covered up with many feet of clay and adobe layers soon after construction" (Coe and Koontz 76). Tassels decorate the chin (center image) and a cleft marks the top of the head (right and left).

Basalt tomb

A burial of two juveniles was found in this tomb, surrounded and roofed with basalt columns.

A pretty stone

It is speculated that the Olmecs transported and erected pretty stones!

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Work Cited:
Michael D. Coe and Rex Koontz. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs. London: Thames and Hudson, 2002.

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© 2004 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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