Vessel: fish with open mouth

1150–550 BCE
more object details

General Description

The Olmec site of Las Bocas, near the modern town of Izúcar de Matamoros in western Puebla, is a source of ceramics in the Olmec style. A refined naturalism, characteristic of the Las Bocas style, is present in this example. Many Mesoamerican peoples believed that the present world emerged out of a primordial sea and that the souls of the dead returned to such a watery place. This open-mouthed fish effigy was probably placed in a grave or tomb to accompany the dead back to the original sea.

Adapted from

  • Carol Robbins, Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

  • Carol Robbins, Label text [1993.80 and 1993.81], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

Fun Facts

  • This work is stylistically related to objects found in archaeological contexts at Tlatilco.