Cup with Profile Head of the Maize God

Art Institute of Chicago

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The Olmecs were the first known Mesoamerican civilization of the Preclassic period (1500 BCE–300 CE). They occupied the Gulf Coast of Mexico including the Valley of Mexico where this ceramic cup, featuring the Maize God, originated. The god is recognizable as the Maize God by the cross hatchings, a common Olmec motif for corn. The god was typically depicted with corn growing from his head which may be represented on this vessel.Olmec pottery was especially prosperous in San Lorenzo and trade brought the practice to cities in the valley such as Tlapacoya, where this work was possibly produced.Doyle, James. “Olmec Art.” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Feb. 2017,

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