Olmec

Olmec

Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico

Book - 2010
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Yale University

Considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, the Olmec developed an iconic and sophisticated artistic style as early as the second millennium B.C. This pre-Columbian civilization, which flourished in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco between 1400 and 400 B.C., is best known for the creation of colossal stone portrait heads of its rulers.  Some weighing up to 24 tons, the monumental heads are among ancient America’s most striking and beautiful masterpieces.

In the fifteen years since the last major study of the Olmec, archaeologists have made significant finds at key sites in Mexico. This sweeping project brings together the most recent scholarship, along with a diverse selection of more than 100 monuments, sculptures, adornments, masks, and vessels, many of which have never traveled beyond Mexico’s borders, that paint a rich portrait of life in the most important Olmec centers, including San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. Particular attention is paid to the emergence of the culture, distinctive variations in the art of different city sites, and the chronology and reach of the society during its apex.

Centering on the concept of discovery, this wide-ranging volume presents a fresh look at Olmec civilization, recapturing the excitement that greeted the unearthing of the first colossal stone head in 1862.

Blackwell Publishing
Considered the "mother culture" of Mesoamerica, the people known today as the Olmec developed an iconic and sophisticated artistic style as early as the second millennium BC. This pre-Columbian civilization, which flourished in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco between 1400 and 400 BC, is best known for the creation of colossal stone portrait heads of its rulers. Weighing up to 24 tons, the monumental heads are among ancient America's most awe-inspiring and beautiful masterpieces.

Archaeologists have made significant finds at key sites in Mexico over the past fifteen years. Informed by the most recent scholarship, this sweeping international project brings together a diverse selection of more than one hundred monuments, sculptures, adornments, masks, and vessels that paint a rich portrait of life in the most important Olmec centers, including San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes. A number of the artworks have never before been published. Particular attention is paid to the emergence of the culture, distinctive variations in the art of different sites, and the chronology and reach of Olmec civilization during its apex.

Centering on the concept of discovery, this wide-ranging volume presents a fresh look at the masterworks of the Olmec world, recapturing the excitement that greeted the unearthing of the first colossal stone head in the mid-nineteenth century.

Publisher: San Francisco : Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco ; Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; New Haven : Yale University Press, c2010
ISBN: 9780300166767
0300166761
9780884011316
0884011313
Characteristics: 272 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 30 cm

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