A Man holding a sort of purse in his hands is crushed in the coils of a huge snake, which seems to be watching over a sarcophagus. The mysterious nature of the subject and the free style in which it has been carved out of a single undressed block of stone give this Olmec carving from La venta an extraordinary expressive power. For the artist has used the stone’s natural shape to add force to his curling design. The snake, which often represented the plumed serpent god, had considerable religious significance in the later pre-Columbian world. It was the symbol of the sun and a potent motif in Mexican mythology.

From The Worlds Last Mysteries – Readers Digest


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