Standing Figure with Sprouting Plant Emerging from Head

Standing Figure with Sprouting Plant Emerging from Head

1000-400 BCE
Gulf Coast region
Funds From Collectors' Choice VI

Unknown Olmec artist, Gulf Coast region, Mexico. Standing Figure with Sprouting Plant Emerging from Head, 1000–400 BCE. Greenstone, 8 ½ x 4 in. Denver Art Museum: Funds From Collectors' Choice VI, 1985.14.

This object is currently on view
height: 8.5 in, 21.5900 cm; width: 4 in, 10.1600 cm
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Art of the Ancient Americas

Maize-sprout Figurine
About 1000–400 B.C.
Mexico, Gulf Coast region
Funds from 1984 Collectors' Choice, 1985.14

Carved of greenish stone, this figurine has a large rectangular head with almond-shaped eyes, a flattened nose, and a downturned mouth.  A sprout rises from a cleft in the top of the head, suggesting that the figurine is a personification of a growing maize seed.  Maize was a staple crop in ancient Mexico; its cultivation and harvest were imbued with both economic and religious importance.  The Olmec carved serpentine and jadeite (whose green color evoked growth and fertility) into axes and figurines for use in ceremonies and ritual offerings. 

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