Olmec Stone Mask - PF.3141
Origin: Mexico
Circa: 900 BC to 500 BC
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high x 6.25" (15.9cm) wide
Catalogue: V15
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Early Classic Period
Medium: Stone


This mask touches and exhilarates centers of life beyond our present reality. It serves as a means of transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary, the natural to the supernatural. The mask has always been used as a ritual agent of transformation in Mesoamerica. The ritual wearer of this mask, the shaman, not only represented the god; he was the god. He manifested the life force. Through that ritual transformation joining the worlds of spirit and nature, man and god fused in the zone of mysterious transition marked by the mask itself. This mask is the seat of the soul, where the outer and inner worlds meet. We are left to ponder over the mysteries of the universe hidden behind this mask, and the awakened insights it has brought to our own inner spirits. This mask radiates energy from its sensitive dynamic expression and clearly delineated physical features. The Olmec artist's desire and ability to idealize the human face as a purely natural form of beauty and spirituality is marvelously displayed here. Powerful forces originating in the world of spirit seem to peer through the open pupils. Spirituality is also hinted at by the slightly down turned mouth, suggestive, of course, of the symbolic were-jaguar. It evokes the ideal beauty of the human countenance and man's basic spiritual nature. It is an astounding work of art which makes our imagination productive and capable of conceiving the inconceivable, the divine. - (PF.3141)



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