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Jade votive axe
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This axe was not intended for use as a tool but as a religious and ceremonial object. It was carved from jade by the Olmec culture of Mexico over 2000 years ago. The axe is shaped as a figure, with a large head and short stocky body narrowing into a blade edge. Such votive axes combine the features of humans and animals such as the jaguar, toad or eagle. The flaming eyebrows, as on this example, have been interpreted as representing the crest of the harpy eagle. The combination of human and animal traits and representations of supernatural beings is common in Olmec art.

Most Olmec axes have a pronounced cleft in the middle of the head. This indentation has been interpreted as the open fontanelle (soft spot) on the crown of newborn babies or the deep groove in the skull of male jaguars or on the heads of certain species of toads.

Jade votive axe

From Mexico, 1200-400 вс
Ht29 cm
Christy Collection

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