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Jay I. Kislak Foundation Maya Collections

 

After millennia of American Indian hunting societies since the "Ice Age," and the eventual development of agricultural societies, the setting was ripe for the emergence of civilization in Mexico. This phenomenon occurred entirely independently of cultural evolution in the Old World. Thus, the first Olmec civilization arose, and ran its course, between 1200 and 500 B.C. (Early and Middle Preclassic). Its homeland was in the swampy rain forest region of the Gulf of Mexico, on the north side of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
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Click on thumbnails for a larger view and discussion of the image.
CURLED STONE JAGUAR
Mexico, Veracruz or Tabasco
Terminal Olmec
700-500 B.C.
Gray volcanic stone with traces of red cinnabar
Ht. 38 cm (15"); W. 34.5 cm (13.5"); D. 12.5 cm (5")
90.34.0.2
INCISED JADE FIGURE
Mexico; provenience unknown
Olmec culture
900-500 B.C.
Pale bluish-green jadeite
Ht. 11.8 cm (4.6")
Kislak PC 0158
STANDING STONE FIGURE
Mexico; provenience unknown
Olmec culture
900-500 B.C.
Mottled green and white stone
Ht. 2.7 cm (5")
Kislak PC 0156
STANDING FIGURE HOLDING BATON
Mexico; unknown provenience
Olmec culture
900-500 B.C.
Dark green jade
Ht. 7.6 cm (3")
Kislak PC 0203
UNUSUAL RECLINING STONE FIGURE
Mexico; provenience unknown
Olmec culture
900-500 B.C.
Dark green serpentine
L.9.5 cm (3.75")
Kislak PC 0007
SOLID SEATED MALE FIGURE
Mexico, Las Bocas
Olmec culture
1100-500 B.C.
Cream-slipped ceramic
Ht. 13.5 cm (5.4")
Kislak PC 0155
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Author information: Justin Kerr, Lee Parsons

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