Archaeologists theorize that the helmet could have been a protective gear worn in battle or donned with playing the Mesoamerican ballgame. Like the faces themselves, the helmets are all unique and vary in design. Some of the carved heads also feature jaguar paws over the forehead.
Did the Olmecs wear helmets?
Each head is distinct and naturalistic, displaying individualised features. They were once thought to represent ballplayers although this theory is no longer widely held; it is possible, however, that they represent rulers equipped for the Mesoamerican ballgame.
Indeed, Almere Read (41) suggests that even the Olmecs themselves regularly moved the heads around for different ritual purposes. Another theory is that the heads were used as powerful markers of rulership and distributed to declare political dominance in various territories.
Olmec means ‘ people from the rubber country ‘This Olmec mask was worn around the neck as a pendant. It may have provided the wearer with a new identity as an ancestor or deity – perhaps as the Olmec rain god. The distinctive toothless, down-turned mouth and infant-like face are typical of Olmec art.
Seventeen Olmec colossal heads have been found: 10 at San Lorenzo, four at La Venta, two at Tres Zapotes and one at La Cobata.
The Olmec were American Indians, not Negroes (as Melgar had thought) or Nordic supermen.”
Olmec Food, Crops, and Diet They planted many of the same crops seen in the region today, such as squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Maize was a staple of the Olmec diet, although it is possible that it was introduced late in the development of their culture.
The Olmecs were a culture of ancient peoples -1300-400 B.C. – of the East Mexico lowlands. They are often regarded as the Mother Culture of later Middle American civilizations. The Olmec people called themselves Xi (pronounced Shi).
The Olmec people are believed to have occupied a large part of modern-day Southern Mexico. The Olmec civilization is what is known as an archaeological culture.
Overview: The Olmec lived along the Gulf Coast of Mexico in the modern-day Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz. The Olmec society lasted from about 1600 BCE to around 350 BCE, when environmental factors made their villages unlivable.
We, and most other scholars who have studied Olmec art, would further agree that the particular “god” associated with rain is a were-jaguar, that is, a mask dominated by the characteristically feline mouth with downturned corners beneath a pug nose.
The men wore breech-cloth, back apron and a belt. The women wore knee length skirts. The priests wore their slaves skin when sacrificed.
The object is carved from serpentine, a dark green stone, commonly used in Olmec artwork. Due to its small size ( 13cm x 11.3cm x 5.7cm ), the object was most likely worn as a pendant rather than a mask. The face is probably a depiction of an Olmec king.