Skip to main content
×
×
Home

So-Called Jaguar-Human Copulation Scenes in Olmec Art

  • Whitney Davis (a1)
Abstract

Three Olmec sculptures are frequently thought to represent copulation between human beings and jaguars, an important element in what we are able to reconstruct of Olmec belief, but evidence and parallels discussed here suggest that this interpretation of the sculptures is incorrect. Alternate explanations which are consistent with a new view would assign an aggressive, ritual, or allegorical meaning to these sculptures and to certain other related Olmec representations.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bernal, Ignacio 1973 Stone reliefs in the Dainzu area. In The iconography of middle American sculpture, by Bernal, Ignacio et al., pp. 1323. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Clewlow, Carl William 1974 A stylistic and chronological study of Olmec monumental sculpture. University of California Archaeological Research Facility, Contributions 19. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Clewlow, Carl William, and Corson, C. R. 1968 New stone monuments from La Venta, 1968. University of California Archaeological ResearchFacility, Contributions 5:171182.
Coe, Michael 1962 Mexico. Frederick A. Praeger, New York.
Coe, Michael 1965a The Olmec style and its distribution. In Handbook of American Indians, edited by Willey, GordonR.,pp. 739775. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Coe, Michael 1965b The jaguar's children: preclassic central Mexico. Museum of Primitive Art, New York.
Coe, Michael 1972 Olmec jaguars and Olmec kings. In The cult of the feline, edited by Benson, ElizabethP., pp. 112. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.
Coe, Michael 1973 The iconology of Olmec art. In The iconography of middle American sculpture, by Bernal, Ignacio et al., pp. 112. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Cook de Leonard, Carmen 1967 Sculptures and rock-carvings at Chalcatzingo, Morelos. University of California Archaeological Research Facility, Contributions 3:5784.
Covarrubias, Miguel 1946 Mexico south: the isthmus of Tehuantepec. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Covarrubias, Miguel 1957 Indian art of Mexico and Central America. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
Davis, Whitney M. 1976 The origin of register composition in predynastic Egyptian art. American Oriental Society, Journal 96:404418.
Drucker, Philip P. 1952 A study of Olmec ceramics and art. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 153. Smithsonian Institution,Washington, D.C.
Drucker, Philip P., Heizer, R.F., and Squier, R.J. 1959 Excavations at La Venta, Tabasco, 1955. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 170. SmithsonianInstitution, Washington, D.C.
Fuente, Beatriz de la 1973 Escultura monumental Olmeca: Catalogo. Institute de Investigaciones Estéticas, Mexico.
Gay, Carlo T. E. 1966 Rock carvings at Chalcacingo. Natural History 75:5761.
Gay, Carlo T. E. 1971 Chalcacingo. Akademische Drück- und Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Grove, David C. 1968a Chalcatzingo, Morelos: a reappraisal of the Olmec rock carvings. American Antiquity 33:48691.
Grove, David C. 1968b The preclassic Olmec in central Mexico: site distribution and inferences. In Dumbarton Oaks conferenceon the Olmec, edited by Benson, ElizabethP., pp. 179185. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.
Grove, David C. 1970 The Olmec paintings of Oxtotitlan Cave, Guerrero, Mexico. Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology6. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.
Grove, David C. 1973 Olmec altars and myths. Archaeology 26:128135.
Heizer, Robert F. 1962 The possible sociopolitical structure of the La Venta Olmec. In Akten des 34. Internationalen Amerikanistenkongresses, pp. 310317. Verlag Ferdinand Berger, Vienna.
Heizer, Robert F. 1968 New observations on La Venta. In Dumbarton Oaks conference on the Olmec, edited by Benson, Elizabeth P., pp. 940. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.
Heizer, Robert F., and Drucker, P. 1968 The fluted pyramid of the La Venta site. Antiquity 42:5256.
Heizer, Robert F., and Williams, H. 1965 Sources of rocks used in Olmec monuments. In Sources of stones used in prehistoric Mesoamericansites, edited by Heizer, RobertF., pp. 138. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Joralemon, Peter David 1971 A study of Olmec iconography. Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology 7. Dumbarton OaksResearch Library and Collection, Washington, D.C.
Joralemon, Peter David 1976 The Olmec dragon: a study in pre-Columbian iconography. In Origins of religious art and iconographyin Preclassic Mesoamerica, edited by Nicholson, H.B., pp. 2771. UCLA Latin American Centerand the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles, Los Angeles. UCLA Latin American Studies 31.
Medellin Zenil, Alfonso 1960 Monolitos ineditos Olmecas. La Palabra y el Hombre 16:7597.
Metcalf, George, and Flannery, K. V. 1967 An Olmec “were-jaguar” from the Yucatan Peninsula. American Antiquity 32:109111.
Stirling, Matthew W. 1943 Stone monuments of southern Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 138. SmithsonianInstitution, Washington, D.C.
Stirling, Matthew W. 1955 Stone monuments of Rio Chiquito, Veracruz, Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 157:123.
Thompson, J. S., Eric 1931 Aquatic symbols common to various centers of the classic period in Mesoamerica. In The Civilizations of ancient Mexico: selected papers of the 29th International Congress of Americanists, edited by Tax, Sol, pp. 3136. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Vaillant, George A. 1932 A pre-Columbian jade. Natural History 32:512520.
Wolf, Eric R. 1959 Sons of the shaking earth. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
  • URL: /core/journals/american-antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed