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By Karl A. Taube

Olmec artwork at Dumbarton Oaks provides the Olmec element of the Robert Woods Bliss choice of Pre-Columbian paintings. It illustrates all thirty-nine Olmec paintings items in colour plates and comprises many complementary and comparative black-and-white illustrations and drawings. The physique of Pre-Columbian artwork that Robert Bliss conscientiously assembled over a half-century among 1912 and 1963, amplified purely a bit of on account that his dying, is a remarkably major assortment. as well as their aesthetic caliber and creative importance, the gadgets carry a lot information about the social worlds and non secular and symbolic perspectives of the folk who made and used them prior to the arriving of Europeans within the New international.

This quantity is the second one in a chain of catalogues that might deal with items within the Bliss Pre-Columbian assortment. nearly all of the Olmec gadgets within the assortment are made from jade, the main priceless fabric for the peoples of historic Mesoamerica from early instances throughout the 16th century. a variety of goods reminiscent of mask, statuettes, jewellery, and replicas of guns and instruments have been used for ceremonial reasons and served as choices.

Karl Taube brings his services at the lifeways and ideology of historic Mesoamerican peoples to his learn of the Olmec gadgets in teh Bliss assortment. His figuring out of jade covers a vast diversity of data from chemical compositions to geological resources to craft know-how to the symbolic energy of the fairway stone. in the course of the booklet the writer emphasizes the position of jade as a strong image of water, fertility, and especially, of the maize plant which used to be the elemental resource of lifestyles and sustenance for the Olmec. The glossy eco-friendly of the stone used to be analogous to the golf green development of maize. This primary proposal was once elaborated in particular non secular ideals, lots of which have been endured and elaborated by way of later Mesoamerican peoples, equivalent to the Maya. Karl Taube employs his large wisdom of Pre-Columbian cultures to discover and explicate Olmec symbolism during this catalogue.

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