They used cotton and rubber trees to make clothes. To make jewelry, they used different types of metals. The men wore breech-cloth, back apron and a belt. The women wore knee length skirts.
The Olmec culture was defined and unified by a specific art style. Crafted in a variety of materials— jade, clay, basalt, and greenstone, which is an archaeologist’s term for carved, green-colored minerals—much Olmec art is naturalistic.
The Olmec art style is found on objects as far afield as the Valley of Mexico to the north and the Pacific coast of Chiapas to the south.
The Olmec especially valued the bluish color of this jadeite mask. Jadeite, a rare variety of greenstone, occurs naturally in very few places around the world. The material for this mask likely originated from the Motagua River valley in present-day Guatemala, the only known source of jadeite in ancient Mesoamerica.
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.
Olmec Tools In spite of only having Stone Age technology, the Olmecs were able to make several sorts of tools which made their life easier. They used whatever was at hand, such as clay, stone, bone, wood or deer antlers. They were skilled at making pottery: vessels and plates used for storing and cooking food.
The Olmec diet mainly consisted of squash, beans, manioc, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and maize.
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.
These theories, however, have been abandoned and it is now thought that the heads represent Olmec rulers and that the facial features are not African but rather represent the people who reside in the Mexican Gulf Coast.
Said to be part-human, part-beast and named after a former owner, the Kunz Axe features a jaguar-shaped mouth and almond-shaped eyes. The figure may represent a chief or shaman who has transformed himself into a powerful jaguar to draw on its power.
The Olmec created massive monuments, including colossal stone heads, thrones, stela (upright slabs), and statues. They may have been the originators of the Mesoamerican ball game, a ceremonial team sport played throughout the region for centuries.
The End of the Olmec Civilization Around 400 B.C. La Venta went into decline and was eventually abandoned altogether. With the fall of La Venta came the end of classic Olmec culture. Although the descendants of the Olmecs still lived in the region, the culture itself vanished.
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.
Items buried in offerings included ceramic vessels, stone sculptures, obsidian blades, seashells, greenstone, and objects gathered from earlier locales (like Olmec sites and the city of Teotihuacan).
Olmec Gods The Olmec apparently had gods, or at least powerful supernatural beings, which were worshiped or respected in some way. Olmec deities are represented in surviving stone carvings, cave paintings, and pottery. In most Mesoamerican art, gods are depicted as human-like but are often more gruesome or imposing.