Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico featured more than 100 objects drawn primarily from Mexican national collections with additional loans from over twenty-five museums, was presented at the de Young Museum in the spring of 2011.
Considered the mother culture of Mesoamerica and recognized as America’s oldest civilization, the people known today as the Olmec developed an iconic and sophisticated artistic style as early as the second millennium BCE. The Olmec are best known for the creation of colossal heads carved from giant boulders that have fascinated the public and archaeologists alike since they were discovered in the mid-19th century. Included in the exhibition are colossal heads, a large-scale throne, and monumental stellae in addition to precious small-scale vessels, figures, adornments and masks. The monumental heads remain among ancient America’s most awe-inspiring and beautiful masterpieces today.
Photos by Jim Shubin and Laurie McAndish King.