Aug 1, 2002
Nov 13, 2009
Nov 13, 2009
Nov 13, 2009
Nov 13, 2009

Vessel with Deity Mask

Vessel with Deity Mask

1200–900 BC

Ceramic, traces of pigment

Overall: 18 x 17.1 x 15.9 cm (7 1/16 x 6 3/4 x 6 1/4 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2002.67


This unusual vessel is made of a U-shaped container and a sheet of clay modeled as a deity mask that is startling in its power: pierced eyes glare from the shadow of a muscular brow; the chin juts aggressively; and the part-bird, part-jaguar mouth opens in a shriek. This may be the face of the Olmec rain deity, the inspiration for much Olmec ritual and many accomplished works of art. The vessel may come from a grave or a buried offering.


Olmec Deity Mask
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