- 1200–400 BCE
The Olmec established a tradition of portraiture through colossal stone heads and figural sculpture. The carved stone images Olmec kings wore on their foreheads and chests projected supernatural power. It is unknown if this small, carved greenstone mask that represents a human face would have been worn, but it may have been suspended from a necklace or brooch by the smaller drilled holes at the earlobes. The almond-shaped eyes, flared nostrils, flattened nose, large lips, and down-turned mouth are common facial features in Olmec figurines. As these features are more human-like than supernatural, this image may represent an ancestor or the king himself.
Elaine Higgins Smith, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2015.
Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Olmec Mask (1973.17)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 36.
Carol Robbins, Label text [1968.20], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.
Carol Robbins, Label text [1973.25], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.
Getty Vocabulary, AAT (pendants (jewelry): AAT: 300046002).