The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Pre-Columbian Americas
Olmec culture, Mexico
Three Ritual Objects, "Pulidores"
Early Formative period, 1200–900 B.C.
Stone, clay
H. 1 3/8 in., 1 1/2 in., 1 3/4 in. (3.5, 3.8, 4.4 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 84.12.1-3


These precisely made objects may have been owned by shamans and used in divination. They are generally called pulidores ("polishers"), a misnomer arising from an initial mistaken belief that they were polishing tools. However, their very careful manufacture and lack of wear, quite different from known polishing tools, have led researchers to conclude that another function is more likely.