The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Native America


Pre-Columbian Americas
Olmec culture, Las Bocas, Mexico
Seated Figure
Early Formative period, 1200–900 B.C.
Clay, cinnabar
H. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 2001.2

This figure is one of a group of small and large clay figures with Olmec features (such as the downturned mouth) that were found in graves in Las Bocas, a central Mexican site far from the Olmec homeland on the Gulf coast. Seated obese figures such as this one may be an early depiction of a deity later known as the Fat God, or they may represent overfed rulers or priests, obese eunuchs, or persons with genetic or endocrine abnormalities.