Jaguar Serpents, Smoke, and Ropes: Iconographic Analysis of Olmec Thrones incl. La Venta Altar IV and Oxtotitlan Mural I
This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Formerly identified cosmograms for the Olmec culture include the Dallas Plaque and the Las Limas figure. Politically, this vision is centered by Olmec rulers which is visible through the iconographic interpretations of works including La Venta Altar 4, Oxtotlitlan Mural 1, among others. These interpretations build on the work of previous scholars and are supported via upstreaming through the Maya. In general, the Olmec altar thrones mirror the Maya view of the cosmos as it is portrayed on Hanab Pakal’s famous sarcophagus at Palenque, Chiapas. This paper will focus on the role of transformation within Olmec political ideology. In particular, Olmec thrones display that Olmec rulers validated their right to rule through their ability to transform into Nahaul or Uay Spirit Companions ("were-jaguars"). This transformation allowed for their contact with the supernatural, it enabled their control of natural forces like rain and wind, and it occurred at the center of time and space, i.e. the Axis-Mundi and World Tree of Creation.
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Jaguar Serpents, Smoke, and Ropes: Iconographic Analysis of Olmec Thrones incl. La Venta Altar IV and Oxtotitlan Mural I. Brendan Stanley, Tara D. Smith. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449618)
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min long: -98.987; min lat: 17.77 ; max long: -86.858; max lat: 25.839 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25766