What Civilization Is Considered The Mother-culture Of Pre-hispanic Mexico


What civilization is considered the mother-culture of pre-hispanic mexico

The Olmec civilisation is commonly referred to as the “Mother Culture” or “Mother Civilization” of Mesoamerica because of its widespread influence. 21st of February, 2019

What civilization is considered the mother culture?

In Mesoamerica, the Olmec civilisation is referred to as the “Mother Culture” or the “Mother Civilization.” 22nd of february in the year 2019

What culture is known as the mother culture of Mexico?

They were the first civilization in Mesoamerica to construct pyramids. Their calendar and religious ideas appear to have had an impact on subsequent civilizations. As a matter of fact, many researchers refer to the Olmecs as Mesoamerica’s “mother culture.”

Who is considered the mother culture of Mesoamerica?

A long-lasting effect on Mesoamerican art, culture, and civilisation, the Olmec are sometimes referred to as the “mother culture” of Mesoamerican history and culture. As is the case with any good mother, their impact may be seen in the cultures that followed after them, known as epi-Olmec cultures.

Why are the Olmec considered Mesoamerica’s mother culture?

The Olmec civilisation is commonly referred to as the “Mother Culture” or “Mother Civilization” of Mesoamerica because of its widespread influence. This is due to the fact that the Olmec had a direct impact on all of the Mesoamerican civilizations that followed. The Olmec people lived near the hot, humid coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where they were a thriving civilization. The majority of Olmec were farmers.

Who came first Olmec and Maya?

In a nutshell, the Maya were the first people to arrive in and establish in what is now Mexico. The Olmecs arrived next, and they were the first people to settle in Mexico. Even though they didn’t create any significant cities, they were widely dispersed and successful. They were followed by the Inca, who lived in modern-day Peru, and ultimately by the Aztecs, who lived in modern-day Mexico, before dying out.

Which culture was the first Mesoamerican civilization?

The Olmecs were interested in astronomy and mathematics, and they constructed a system of writing and mathematics. They were the first civilization in Mesoamerica to construct pyramids. Their calendar and religious ideas appear to have had an impact on subsequent civilizations. As a matter of fact, many researchers refer to the Olmecs as Mesoamerica’s “mother culture.”

What are the Olmecs known for?

The Olmec, who first appeared around 1600 BCE, were one of the earliest Mesoamerican sophisticated communities, and their culture had an impact on many following civilizations, including the Maya. The Olmec are renowned for their enormous stone heads, which they sculpted out of basalt, a volcanic rock that originated in Mexico.

What do you consider to be the Olmecs most important contributions to later cultures?

When the Olmec civilisation emerged in Mesoamerica approximately 1600 BCE, it was one of the world’s earliest sophisticated communities. Their culture had an impact on many subsequent civilizations, including the Maya. Massive stone skulls carved out of basalt, a volcanic rock, are what the Olmec are most known for today.

What culture made the colossal heads and what tools did they use?

The civilisation of the Olmecs

What impact did Olmec culture have on Mesoamerica?

Trade and Commerce in the Olmec Empire Highly desired commodities such as obsidian blades, animal skins, and salt were commonly traded across nearby societies since they were in high demand among them.

Long-distance trading routes were established by the Olmecs in order to get the goods they need, eventually establishing relationships all the way from the valley of Mexico to central America.

What was the Olmec religion called?

The Olmecs were polytheistic, believing in a plethora of gods who ruled over the natural forces that shaped their world. These gods took on human-like appearances, but they possessed a more frightening nature due to the fact that they possessed a blend of feline, reptile, and bird-like characteristics.

Why don t archaeologists know where the Olmec come from?

The Olmec civilisation is a bit of a mystery to us; in fact, we don’t even know what they called themselves; Olmec was their Aztec moniker, which literally translated as ‘rubber people’, so we have no idea what they were called. Because of a scarcity of archaeological evidence, it is impossible to determine their ethnic origins, as well as the location and breadth of many of their sites.

How big was the Olmec civilization?

The Wrestler, basalt, 1200-400 BCE, height: 66 cm, from the Arroyo Sonso region (Veracruz, Mexico); Museo Nacional de Antropologa (National Museum of Anthropology). Olmecs.

The Olmec heartland, where the Olmec reigned from 1400 to 400 BCE
Geographical range Veracruz, Mexico
Period Preclassic Era
Dates c. 2,500 – 400 BCE
Type site San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán

In what ways were the Olmec influenced cultures of the Aztecs and Maya both similar and different from each other?

Museo Nacional de Antropologa in Mexico City has the Wrestler, a basalt sculpture from the Arroyo Sonso region (Veracruz, Mexico), dating from 1200-400 BCE and measuring 66 cm in height. Olmecs.

Were the Olmec a mother culture? – SidmartinBio

Though it was one of the most influential ancient civilizations in the early Americas, the Olmec Civilization is widely considered to be the “mother culture” of many other cultures that arose in the region in later centuries, despite the fact that its dominance of the region waned in the last centuries before the Common Era.

Was the Olmec civilization a mother culture or a sister culture to other civilizations in the Mesoamerica?

Consequently, Pool (2007) concludes that while San Lorenzo emerged early as the largest and most developed polity in Mesoamerica, and the earliest evidence for several of the defining characteristics of Mesoamerican culture can be found there, the Olmecs emerge looking more like a promiscuous father culture spawning a profusion of sons and daughters.

What is the mother culture of Central America?

Swimming Pool (2007) comes to the conclusion, however, that while San Lorenzo emerged early as the largest and most developed polity in Mesoamerica, and while the earliest evidence of several defining characteristics of Mesoamerican culture can be found there, the Olmecs emerge looking more like a promiscuous father culture spawning.

Why is the Olmec considered the founding culture of Mexico?

Additionally, being the earliest civilisation in Mesoamerica, the Olmecs are attributed with several “firsts,” including the practice of bloodletting and perhaps human sacrifice, writing and epigraphy, and the creation of popcorn, zero, and the number one in the.

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What is the difference between a mother culture and a sister culture?

It is known as the “mother culture” when one civilization produced customs that were then passed on to other cultures that followed after them. The term “sister culture” refers to a society that borrows customs from other civilizations and then passes their “patchwork” cultures on to succeeding civilizations later on.

Which civilization is considered Mesoamerica’s mother culture?

What is it about the Olmecs that has led to their being referred to as Mesoamerica’s mother culture?

The Olmec civilisation is commonly referred to as the “Mother Culture” or “Mother Civilization” of Mesoamerica because of its widespread influence. This is due to the fact that the Olmec had a direct impact on all of the Mesoamerican civilizations that followed.

What culture is often called the mother culture?

The Olmec civilisation is commonly referred to as the “Mother Culture” or “Mother Civilization” of Mesoamerica because of its widespread influence. This is due to the fact that the Olmec had a direct impact on all of the Mesoamerican civilizations that followed.

What does Sister culture mean?

The term “sister culture” refers to a society that borrows customs from other civilizations and then passes their “patchwork” cultures on to succeeding civilizations later on.

Why was the Olmec civilization considered a mother culture?

The Olmecs are regarded as a “mother culture” since they are the progenitors of a large number of different people and civilizations that formed later in America. The first evidence of their existence dates back to 1500 B.C.

What did the Olmec civilization leave behind in Mexico?

The Olmec enormous heads are the most well-known of the artifacts that the Olmec civilisation left behind in their wake. Historically, the Olmec people are thought to have inhabited a substantial portion of what is now southern Mexico. a person who is interested in the artifacts and lives of ancient civilizations Tools, clothes, and food are examples of culturally significant material remnants. Clay is used to create this item.

Who was the mother culture of Central America?

Despite the fact that pre-Olmec cultures had existed in the region, the Olmecs have been referred to as the cultura madre, or’mother culture,’ of Central America, because of their influence. In other words, the Olmecs are responsible for many of the characteristics that distinguish subsequent Central American civilizations. So, who were the Olmecs, and what was their way of life like? What was their civilization like?

How did the Olmec culture relate to the Jaguar?

The “rubber people,” who were considered by some to be the mother culture of pre-Hispanic Mexico, revered the jaguar as a mystical creature. Artifacts from the Olmec period that depict jaguars, which were defined by the combination of human and feline physical traits, have been discovered in various locations around Mexico.

The Olmecs

This civilisation was the first great civilization to arise in Mesoamerica, and it was known as theOlmecs. The “rubber people,” considered by some to be the cradle of pre-Hispanic Mexico’s culture, worshipped the supernatural beings known as jaguaras. Artifacts from the Olmec period depicting jaguars, who were differentiated by the combination of human and feline physical traits, have been discovered in various locations around Mexico.


When it comes to Mesoamerica, theOlmecs were the first great civilisation to emerge and thrive. Pre-Hispanic Mexico’s “rubber people,” who are considered by some to be the “mother culture,” worshiped the supernatural beings known as jaguaras. Artifacts from the Olmec period depicting jaguars, who were differentiated by the combination of human and feline physical traits, have been discovered all across Mexico.

Olmec Head

The Olmecs are well known for their six huge basalt skulls, each of which stands eight to nine feet tall and weighs between 20 and 40 tons. This group of Olmec monoliths, carved from stone collected at least 50 miles away from the location, has distinctively Negroid facial characteristics and seems to be wearing helmets, making them one-of-a-kind. Tres Zapotes is the site where archaeologists unearthed the first Olmec head, as well as the Stela C, which bears the long count date of 31 BC. At La Venta, the culture’s most significant hub, more large Olmec heads were discovered, as well as a number of massive stone altars and stelae.

In common with many later Mesoamerican towns, the site is built out along a north-south axis, with the most notable feature being a massive clay and earth pyramid that towers above everything else. In the period between 400 and 300 BC, it appears that the center was deliberately demolished.


Olmecs were believed to be the first Mesoamerican culture to comprehend the notion of zero, build a calendar, and develop a hieroglyphic writing system, according to archaeological evidence. The discovery of the world’s first conduit drainage system, which is credited to them, is also attributed to them. These intellectual achievements, as well as Olmec mythology and rites, had a significant impact on the cultures that followed, including the Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Aztec. Return to the beginning of the document.

pre-Columbian civilizations

Early civilizations, include the aboriginal American Indian cultures that developed in Mesoamerica (parts of Mexico and Central America), the Andean area (western South America), and other parts of the world before the arrival of the Spanish and their conquest in the 16th century. In terms of human society and culture, the pre-Columbian civilizations were astonishing advancements, standing with the early civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China in importance. A similarity can be found between ancient civilizations in the Old World and those in the New World in that both were characterized by kingdoms and empires, great monuments and cities, and refinements in the arts of metallurgy, writing, and writing; the ancient civilizations of the Americas also exhibit similar cyclical patterns of growth and decline, unity and disunity, in their histories.

  • It is possible that the first agricultural beginnings date back many millennia, to around 7000bce, and the first experiments with plant cultivation by the early Americans.
  • Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica Quiz for History Enthusiasts You are well-versed in the fundamentals of history.
  • Put your historical knowledge to the test to determine if you are worthy of the label of History Buff or not.
  • The most significant crops were corn (maize), beans, squash, chili peppers, and cotton, which were all grown in large quantities.
  • It appears that such settlements were economically self-sufficient and politically autonomous, with a social order based on equality for all members.
  • Initially appearing in what is now Mexico’s southern Gulf coast area, these alterations are said to have originated in a style known asOlmec, and the sculptures depicting chiefs or ruling figures are thought to have originated there.
  • Following that, additional big capital cities and cities in neighboring regions began to arise, each with a distinct Olmec art style that was comparable to the first.

These survived until around 700–900 ce.

Despite the fact that they had an Olmec ancestry, they revealed a wide range of differences.

Teotihuacán, located in the Valley of Mexico, was a thriving urban center with a population of over 150,000 people, and the civilisation that developed there eventually spread throughout most of Mesoamerica.

After around 600 years, Teotihuacán’s authority began to decline, and a “period of problems” occurred, during which a number of nations and emerging empires battled for supremacy.

They were a formidable force (the Early Postclassic Period).

In 1521, Hernán Cortés(or Cortéz) and the Spaniards conquered the last native Mesoamerican empire, which was known as the Aztec Empire.

The lima bean and the potato were the oldest principal food crops in the area, both of which had lengthy histories of domestication in the area, but maize came just a few hundred years after the start of established village life.

After approximately 500 BCE, the Chavn horizon was no longer visible, and it was replaced by regional styles and cultures that persisted until approximately 600 BCE.

The Tiwanaku–Huarihorizon (Middle Horizon; 600–1000) brought the period to a close, since it was derived from the highland cities of Tiwanaku (in current northern Bolivia) and Huari (in modern northern Peru), respectively (in central highland Peru).

The horizon and its influences, as manifested in ceramics and textiles, faded away gradually over the following centuries, and were eventually replaced by the various regional styles and kingdoms of what has come to be known as the Late Intermediate Period (1000–1438), which spanned the centuries from 1000 to 1438.

  • It stretched from what is now theEcuador – Colombia border to the heart of Chile by 1533, when Francisco Pizarro and his associates seized control of the empire under their command.
  • In spite of the fact that there were interactions, as evidenced by knowledge of food plants and pottery being exchanged between the two regions, it is very doubtful that political or theological views were propagated in the same way, as was the case in the Middle Ages.
  • In terms of cultural traditions, there are significant contrasts between the two.
  • As evidenced by art and iconography, Mesoamerican religious ideology was more developed than that of its neighboring Andean counterpart.
  • The ancient Peruvians, on the other hand, were far more productive than their Mesoamerican counterparts in the early development and deployment of metallurgy, as well as in the establishment of governmental institutions and the expansion of empires.

Gordon R. Willey is an American businessman and philanthropist.

Mexican monolith could change history

The ancient site of Tamtoc, located northeast of Mexico City, will be exposed to the public starting this week. Reuters / San Luis Potosi S.G. / San Luis Potosi The discovery of a carved monolith in Mexico may prove that the Olmec civilisation, one of the earliest civilizations in the Americas, was more extensive than previously assumed, or that another society coexisted with it 3,000 years ago. The discoveries at the recently unearthed Tamtoc archaeological site in the north-central state of San Luis Potosi may cause historians to reassess their traditional understanding of Mesoamerican history, which argues that the region’s oldest peoples were headquartered in the southern part of the country.

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Language experts, historians, ethnographers and others are examining the finds from the site in order to determine their origins and place of origin.

The stone monolith was discovered by workers at the site who were rebuilding a canal.

According to Ahuja, the structure, which is 25 feet (7.6 meters) long, 13 feet (4 meters) high, 16 inches (40 centimeters) thick, and weighs more than 30 tons, might date back as far as 900 B.C.

As Ahuja explained, “They are relatively recent symbols in Mesoamerica.” Scientists discovered evidence of an advanced civilisation at Tamtoc, including a hydraulic system, canals, and other technological advancements, making it the oldest and most technologically advanced center of its period located in what would eventually become the Huasteco Indian territory, according to Ahuja.

The importance of animals in Mexican pre-Hispanic cultures

Human humans have coexisted with animals from the dawn of time, and together they have established a dynamic of connections that have grown in depth and significance over time. After having seen, examined, classed, and even domesticated them, pre-Hispanic societies began to infuse these creatures with new features and abilities as a result of their observations, classification, and domestication. Animals have progressed beyond the most fundamental levels of human imagination, and have entered the categories of creatures with supernatural abilities, manifestations of divine energy, or spirits that protect or destroy, among many other kinds of creatures.

Animes were no exception in the pre-Hispanic cultures of Mexico, and as a result, they began to be imbued with new meanings and designated as icons and symbols that would eventually become incorporated into the magical-religious notions that characterized the cultures of our nation.

In the present day, we continue to see the significance of these meanings as well as the influence they have had on the development of Mexico’s culture and collective consciousness. It’s easy to notice the relevance of this in murals and paintings as well as in popular culture such as movies and even handicrafts, but we aren’t always conscious of it. That is why we are going to discuss about the significance of animals in pre-Hispanic cultures in the country of Mexico.

1. Maya culture

In Mesoamerica, the Maya civilisation is regarded to be one of the most prominent civilizations in the world. The tropical forest region of the present-day countries Guatemala, Belize, and El Salvador, as well as Mexico’s states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo were all home to this species. This civilization is most known for its literature, its numerical systems, its astronomical discoveries, its architecture, and the usage of calendars that were developed throughout its time period.

  • Because of this, people formed symbolic links between themselves and the divine powers that dominated the cosmos.
  • Read more about the important ancient Maya gods you should be familiar with.
  • Having long been connected with night and night power, it was long thought that the jaguar could travel between the realms of living and dead; that is, between this world and the underworld, which was referred to as Xibalbá in Maya culture.
  • Because of this, they decided to keep the motif prevalent in all of their artistic and architectural endeavors.
  • As a result, the jaguar was linked with the most powerful individuals, such as monarchs, priests, and sorcerers, who were able to dress themselves in the skin of this animal to emphasize their position of authority.
  • According to the Popol Vuh, the owl, also known as “tecolote,” was revered in Maya civilization as a messenger of the gods from the underworld, as well as a guide to the underworld’s location.
  • According to legend, the owl was an extremely clever animal that served as a counselor to the other birds of the forest.
  • This animal then pledged retribution on men and learnt to distinguish the smell of death.

This resulted in the notion that every time the owl’s song is heard, it is a harbinger of death, which also made them into a sign of ill luck and an intermediary between the living and the dead in certain cultures.

Hummingbirds are considered to be healing and beneficial animals in Maya culture, and they may assist those who are in need of a change in their fortune. Their ability to defend soldiers and act as intermediaries between gods and humans is claimed to have been legendary. It is said that the gods understood they required a person to transfer ideas and wishes from one location to another when they created the Earth, according to a Maya tale. Following this finding, they used a jade stone to carve a very little arrowhead out of it.

  1. As a result, if somebody sends you a good wish, a hummingbird will accept the desire and deliver it to you.
  2. These animals represented the traits of a good hunter in Maya culture, and they were also the personification of the virtues that characterized a courageous warrior, whose effort allowed for excellent rain, which in pre-Hispanic times was a sign of plentiful maize harvests.
  3. However, there are other other creatures that are incredibly important in Maya culture in addition to those listed above.
  4. Visit our blog, “Sacred Creatures of the Maya Culture,” to learn about the other animals that play an essential role in the Maya culture’s worldview.

2. Aztec culture

For more than two centuries, the Aztec or Mexica civilisation controlled central Mexico, expanding its territories to include Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. This civilization flourished in the heart of the Valley of Mexico, and its primary goal was to consolidate and expand its power throughout the region. This motivated people to construct temples, trade routes, and tax collection stations, among other structures, in order to win the favor of the gods. Animals were an important component of the Aztec culture’s everyday existence, cuisine, set of ideas and behaviors, economics, rituals, and mythology.

  • Dogs, golden eagles, quetzals, and butterflies are among the most significant creatures in Aztec civilization, along with other birds.
  • This animal served a variety of functions in Mesoamerican societies, including those related to domestication, religion, friendship, and the protection of both the living and the dead.
  • Xólotl was a deity in Mesoamerican mythology who represented heaven, wisdom, metamorphosis, duplicity, night darkness, and the unknowable.
  • These animals were considered sacred by the Aztecs and their way of life.
  • When the Aztecs died, they buried their dogs with their masters so that the dogs may serve as their guide to the underworld when they returned.

The xoloitzcuintle was regarded a holy animal in the Aztec civilization because of its heavenly touch and its position as a companion in both life and death. Learn about some of the most well-known myths and stories from Mexico.

This animal was seen as the embodiment of force, strength, freedom, and supremacy by the Aztec or Mexica civilizations, respectively. It has long been associated with the sky and is revered as the incarnation of air, fire, and the Sun. As a result, its downward flight is interpreted as the descent of light to Earth and the fecundating force of the Sun, among other things. We associate it with our national emblem today, but these animals represented a number of things in ancient Aztec culture, including the courage and character of warriors whose mission was believed to have been entrusted to them by the gods themselves; however, it was also a symbol of the sacred death that was believed to have re-established life in the universe.

  • A military unit known as the “Eagle Warriors” was formed by members of the Aztec nobility and tasked with carrying out reconnaissance and espionage operations.
  • This bird is sometimes referred to as the “feathered snake” because its tail moves in a manner similar to that of a snake while it glides through the air.
  • The feathered snake was linked with the Mexica god Quetzalcóatl and the Maya god Kukulkán during pre-Hispanic periods, both of whom presented themselves as a feathered serpent.
  • Historically, this bird represented fertility, plenty, well-being, life, wealth, and independence for the Aztecs.
  • Ornaments, flags, and vestments adorned with quetzal feathers were considered to be emblems of authority and prosperity in the Maya and Aztec societies.
  • A live quetzal was captured and its feathers were plucked before it was released since killing a quetzal was considered a felony in pre-Hispanic times, and hence carrying the death sentence was not an option.
  • These creatures represented the rebirth and renewal of mankind in their eyes.

To collect nectar from flowers, they returned to the surface of the planet in the shape of gorgeous butterflies. They made the trip to see their family in order to safeguard them from any danger that could come their way.

3. Olmec culture

The Olmec civilisation is frequently referred to as the “Mother of Mesoamerican Cultures” and is considered to be one of the first civilizations to have existed on the American continent. It was mostly concentrated in what is now the southern state of Veracruz and western Tabasco, although it had a larger presence elsewhere. It was the first civilization in Mesoamerica to establish communities and urban centers, and it was the first to do so. The Olmecs were polytheists who worshipped a variety of deities, including the jaguar.

  1. The Olmec civilisation had a strong connection to this animal since they considered themselves to be descended from him and even portrayed men with feline characteristics.
  2. A holy species, the jaguar was revered in this pre-Hispanic society, and it was associated with the dark, chilly, nocturnal, and damp environment that existed on the planet.
  3. In their eyes, it symbolized the secrets and perils of the forest, as well as their ability to conquer the challenges of life in the wild.
  4. More information may be found at: Mexico’s legendary monsters are represented by the following ten:
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4.Teotihuacan culture

The Teotihuacán culture was one of numerous Mesoamerican civilizations that flourished from the third to the seventh centuries A.D., and it was the most prosperous of these civilizations. Teotihuacán is located in the northeastern zone of Mexico’s current state, precisely between the municipalities of Teotihuacán and San Martn de las Pirámides. It is the largest city in the state. The feathered snake, Quetzalcóatl, was venerated by this tribe, and animals were frequently used in their rituals.

The butterfly represented the elements of fire, spirit, and mobility in the Teotihuacán civilisation of Mexico.

5. Zapotec culture

The Zapotec culture was a Mesoamerican civilisation that flourished in the region that is now occupied by the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Puebla, among others. Because every man, regardless of the section he belonged to, felt compelled to fight, this civilization was well-known for producing outstanding warriors. Animals were prominent in the Zapotec civilization, particularly in their religious calendar and religion, in which they identified a number of deities with various types of animals.

The bat, deer, and owl are some of the most prominent creatures in Zapotec civilization, and they are all found in the region.

Known as “meat butterflies” in the Zapotec civilization, these creatures were considered to be sacred. Bats were connected with fertility, as well as the goddess Pitao Cozobi, who was also related with grain and upkeep. In order to understand their crucial function in ecosystems, this civilization realized that they assisted in seed dispersal and pollination. Although the bat was associated with death, night, and darkness in other civilizations, such as that of the Maya and the Aztec, it has always been revered and appreciated in the West.

  • The deer, along with other pre-Hispanic animals like as the jaguar and the quetzal, was revered in a number of cultures.
  • This is because the Zapotecs thought that if they heard a deer shouting in the middle of the night, it meant that rain was on its way.
  • These animals were revered as powerful healers in the Zapotec society, according to legend, because they were able to inspire and motivate people via the use of their words.
  • Eagles, macaws, and turtles were also regarded sacred creatures by the Zapotec society in addition to these species.
  • Their legendary and divine portrayals of many of the activities, deities, and ideals that guided our ancestors’ everyday lives are notions that continue to be significant in Mexican society today.
  • Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Mother’s Day with the Mother Culture!

Come spend Mother’s Day with the Olmec, who are considered to be the mother culture of Mesoamerica. It seems appropriate that the last opportunity to see our Olmec exhibition will be on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8th, which falls on a Sunday this year. The Olmec, sometimes referred to as Mesoamerica’s “mother culture,” had a profound impact on Mesoamerican art, culture, and civilisation, and their legacy continues today. As is the case with any good mother, their impact may be seen in the cultures that followed after them, known as epi-Olmec cultures.

Mexican stela 1 (female figure) from Tabasco, La Venta, 900–400 BC, basalt, 98 7/16 x 38 9/16 x 27 9/16 inches, 900–400 BC, Mexico.

Photo courtesy of the Mexican government’s National Council for Culture and the Arts and the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia) and Javier Hinojosa.

One of the few known works of art depicting a female may be seen here at the de Young, and it is nearly as large as some of the heads.

Whether the person shown is a deity, an idealized ancestor, or a historical Olmec human is now unknown to archaeologists.

Three-quarter-length jadeite and hematite female figure with polished hematite disk found in Mexico’s Tabasco province’s La Venta, Mound A-2, Tomb A (Columnar Tomb), 900–500 BC.

In Mexico City, visit the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology) (10–9652).

Another interesting find was a miniature sitting female figure made of jadeite and hematite that was discovered at what is believed to have been the burial place of an important Olmec woman.

In the opinion of researchers, the Olmec saw mirrors as an entrance from the underworld into the living world, and they were employed in ritual and funeral ceremonies.

There is a collection of epi-Olmec artwork from following Mesoamerican cultures in the last two halls of the exhibition.

Among them are the “beautiful women,” a small group of miniature carved female figurines that are arranged in a circle.

One of them is holding a mirror in a position similar to that of the sitting female figure, while the other is carrying a kid in her arms.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day, and if you’re in the neighborhood, please stop over to celebrate and bid our Olmec display, as well as its handful of stunning ladies, a fond farewell on Mother’s Day.

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