Olmec culture, Tlapacoya, Mexico
Early Formative period, 1200–900 B.C.
H. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 81.32.3
"Olmec" is a name given by archaeologists to what is thought
of as the Mexican "mother culture." It was centered along
the eastern (Gulf) coast, but extended over a wider area. This bowl,
for example, is one of a group of similar vessels found outside the
Olmec heartland but attributed to that civilization. While we do not
understand many aspects of Olmec religion and art, research suggests
that the banded eye may identify the faces on this bowl as the god
of spring, renewal, and resurrection.