THE OLMECAS

The Olmeca culture, was considered the Mother Culture among the Mesoamerican people. It thrived between the years 1200 100 B.C. in today’s states of Veracruz and Tabasco. Their most important religious center was La Venta. The origin of the Olmecas is a mystery. Their sculptures, with oblique eyes, broad noses and thick lips show a mixture of Asian and African beginnings.

They were agricultural. They had knowledge of astronomy and the cycle of seasons. They designed a numerical system based on twenty and discovered the concept of zero. They were also the first in the American continent that manufactured paper out of wood.

Even though the word Olmeca means “inhabitant of the rubber-tree country,” the people of La Venta are known as “the ones with tiger mouth.” To them the jaguar was the symbol of nature and supernatural powers. Olmeca art is unmistakable because of its sculptures of gods, men and children with jaguar mouth. The most characteristic pieces are: the Lord of The Limes, the Wrestler, and the Scribe, most renowned are the colossal heads of kings or priests. Some of them are up to 3 meters high and weigh an average of 10 tons each.


LOS OLMECAS

La cultura olmeca, considerada la Cultura Madre de los pueblos mesoamericanos, floreció entre los años 1200 y 100 a. de C. en los actuales estados de Veracruz y Tabasco. Su centro ceremonial más importante fue La Venta. El origen de los olmecas es un misterio. Sus esculturas, con ojos oblicuos, nariz ancha y labios gruesos, muestran una mezcla de rasgos asiáticos y negroides.

Eran agricultores. Tenían conocimientos de astronomía y del ciclo de las estaciones. Idearon un sistema numérico vigesimal y descubrieron el concepto del cero. Fueron los primeros en el continente americano que fabricaron papel de madera.

Aunque la palabra olmeca significa “habitante del país del hule”, el grupo de la cultura de La Venta se conoce como “los de la boca de tigre”. Para ellos el jaguar era el símbolo de la naturaleza y de los poderes sobrenaturales. El arte olmeca es inconfundible por sus esculturas de dioses, hombres y niños con boca de jaguar. Las piezas más características son: el Señor de Las Limas, el Luchador y el Escriba, pero principalmente las cabezas colosales de reyes o sacerdotes. Algunas tienen hasta 3 metros de altura y pesan en promedio 10 toneladas.

This entry was posted in Mexican History, Newsletter Archive.

3 responses to “THE OLMECAS”

  1. MEXICAN PRIDE IS
    INDIAN PRIDE.
    INDIOS Y MESTIZOS

  2. […] Another dish with pre-columbian roots, tamales are made from masa (a starchy corn based dough) filled with whatever the cook desires: meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, chilies, anything. They are cooked by wrapping the filled dough in plant leaves (so far I’ve seen this done with banana or corn leaves) and then steamed until ready. Used as an easily portable food source for Mesoamerican peoples, Tamales have been traced back to the Mayan people in the Preclassic era (1200 – 250BC) but it is believed that they were developed by a previous society such as the Olmeca. […]

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