Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Real big heads:
Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa

It had been a long day. We were tired. I thought I knew about big heads. I was wrong. Though we had only 45 minutes in the Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa, it would have been a great loss to miss this place. (Do click on the link; the website is exceptionally good.)

It seems that from roughly 1200 to 900 BCE, a people called the Olmec lived and thrived in what are now the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco. And they thought big.

This picture gives a sense of scale. It is also the only one of six of these at this museum that some scholars think may have represented a woman. Our group of four uppity women came to that conclusion without prompting from the label.

Some Afro-centrist historians have pointed out that the features on these Gulf of Mexico colossi suggest an African origin; other anthropologists wonder if there was a Chinese influence. Quien sabe?

He's certainly fierce looking. When I get a chance, I'll have to read some of the literature about the lost civilization that produced these enormous figures. A long Wikipedia entry on the Olmec might provide a starting place.


Civic Center said...

One of these heads was on loan at the new deYoung when it opened but had to be returned. It was by far the coolest thing in the museum.

Kay Dennison said...

Magnificent!!!! I truly envy you your trip to Yucatan! I'd love the opportunity to see all these wonderful things!!!!!! AND . . . Welcome back!!!!!