Olmec Civilization Analysis

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OVERVIEW/ OLMEC SETTLEMENT

Lines, imagery, figurines, pottery, and statutes; the Olmec Civilization had it all. Art can be infinitely defined. But have you ever heard of the monumental heads of the Olmec Civilization? Allow me to give you a taste of this incredible civilization with hidden treasures it hides within the tropical region of Mexico. Many know of monumental sculptures such as the Easter Island heads and the infamous Stonehenge, but where do these large Olmec heads fit into these majestic categories? They too have the right to be known, interpreted, and recognized. The Olmec Civilization bloomed 1200 BCE to 400 BCE. The Olmec Civilization is a Pre-Classical civilization with a notable culture revolving art. Art can be defined through
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The prevalence of the the jaguar, feline, and snake demonstrate the connection with earth. Also, the representation of self through animals is the context the Olmec’s applied to the art. Those statues or figurines allowed for those in hierarchal positions be illustrated through out. Now becoming the mythological creatures, and myths their ancestors once told. Posture is key when analyzing these artifacts most of the morphed creatures are shown either kneeling, as if they were submitting to a higher power, or standing upright, as if they were one with people. In the journal, "The shaman in transformation pose: A study of the theme of rulership in Olmec art,” Kent Reilly (1989) discusses are the importances of posture in Olmec icons. This is important because it further enhances the theory of hierarchy and art. The jaguar being prevalent in human, animal relationship, it exemplifies the power and fear that can be associated with this animal. The pose that Reilly discusses is the kneeling pose, which is the “transformation pose”. This pose can be described as vulnerable and submissive, but in a sense shows the beauty of transformation. Being able to kneel and submit one self to a higher power, and feel the freedom and transition into a wild animal of such strength gives a person empowerment. The Olmec’s must have felt empowerment to be one with nature. 
 CONCLUDING STATEMENTS
 Art allows different civilizations express themselves and show their social standing. The Olmec Civilization does not get enough credit for their impact to the Mesoamerican pre-classical period. The Olmec art representations are key in deconstructing the following civilizations such as Mayan and Aztec culture. The monumental sculptures exemplified the hierarchy this civilization was based on, and the replication and even uniqueness of each artifact is accounted for. We can thank archaeologist Miguel Covarrubias for

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