Cosmic Ventures of the Olmec Dwarf: An Analysis of the Dispersal and Transformation of Dwarf Imagery within Olmec Iconography
Author(s): Tara Smith
The formative period dwarf imagery in Mesoamerica offers an exemplary opportunity to further our understanding of the Olmec cosmovision and how their ideology spread throughout the region. This study specifically compares the three monumental sandstone dwarfs at La Venta to the portable dwarfs carved in stone and sculpted from clay found elsewhere within the Olmec exchange network. I discuss the origin of Dwarf imagery within the Olmec artistic style through an analysis of stylistic trends and by upstreaming from the Maya. Ultimately, I present evidence that shows dwarfs as transformative beings, likely associated with creation events and cosmic travel; a transformative sequence can be identified when viewing the corpus as a whole, further alluding to the ritualized nature of dwarf imagery. Moreover, the evidence suggests, and I concur, that the phenomenon of dwarf representations originated in the periphery regions of Olmec influence and was later incorporated into the heartland, manifesting in the monumental sculptures at La Venta.
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Cosmic Ventures of the Olmec Dwarf: An Analysis of the Dispersal and Transformation of Dwarf Imagery within Olmec Iconography. Tara Smith. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430679)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;
Abstract Id(s): 16168