OlmecStyle.docx - EXERCISE RECOGNIZING OLMEC STYLE The objectives of this exercise are to learn to recognize characterize and interpret the Olmec style


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EXERCISE: RECOGNIZING OLMEC STYLE The objectives of this exercise are to learn to recognize, characterize, and interpret the Olmec style. Through the exercise you should develop the ability to: 1. Recognize the Olmec style, to distinguish it from other Mesoamerican styles, and to describe the elements that constitute the style. For example, the style is recognizable by its smooth, rounded representations; it is unlike the Zapotec style which is much more ornate. 2. Recognize possible meanings of some of themes embodied in the style (e.g., were-jaguar, paw-wing). 3. Make inferences about possible or likely uses and associations of the objects from information about the style, performance characteristics, and contexts of the objects. For example, what were the likely uses and associations of the colossal heads, given that they were (a) expensive to construct, (b) potentially easy to see, yet (c) mutilated? SLIDE IDENTIFICATION In “Introduction to Olmec Style Exercise,” you have seen slides of several objects in the Olmec style. Now, for this worksheet, these are repeated in the first several frames of “Images for Olmec Style Exercise.” These correspond to Lines 1-5. Next, you will see more slides, corresponding to Lines 15-20, some of which represent the Olmec style and some other styles (e.g., Zapotec). Fill out the worksheet, making notes on what you see. You will begin to develop an eye for the Olmec style. Recall what was said about the Olmec objects. If an object appears to you to be Olmec, what makes it Olmec? As you go along, try to build your understanding of what characterizes the Olmec style. Prepare to present your characterization of the style in Questions 1 and 2. (Points possible: 2 points for completion, 3 points for listing stylistic attributes) Object Olmec ? Stylistic attributes – what makes it Olmec or not Olmec? Context if known 1. Colossal head Yes It’s called colossal because of its size. Made of Basalt. It’s round, has rounded features. The eyes are less detailed and droopy. The nose and the mouth follow this as they seem to have a frowning attribute. The carving is not as detailed as it goes further down. Stern expression or lack of expression. Low relief carved meaning the material if taken out to create features rather than put on. San Merenzo in Vera Cruz 1200-900 BCE 2. Altar Yes Instead of looking rounded it is square like. Also low relief carving. There is more detail in the person emerging from the cave like (or underworld) area, there is again a face but this one is more animalistic.
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  • Fall '19
  • Facial expression, statue, La Venta, Olmec, Figurine

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