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Vessel with Deity Mask

1200–900 BCE
Overall: 18 x 17.1 x 15.9 cm (7 1/16 x 6 3/4 x 6 1/4 in.)
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Description

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.
Vessel with Deity Mask

Vessel with Deity Mask

1200–900 BCE

Central Mexico (Las Bocas, Puebla?), Olmec, Formative Period

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Olmec Deity Mask

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