Colossal Head 4

August 29, 2006

This is a replica of a 6-ton basalt portrait of a ruler from the Olmec culture of 1200 – 900 B.C.E. The original (one of 17 known) was excavated in 1946 by Smithsonian archaeologist Matthew Stirling and is on display in the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The Olmec created these sculptures without iron tools.

This replica, which stands outside the Museum of Natural History on Constitution Avenue, was carved from welded volcanic ash by Ignacio Pérez Solano and presented to the Smithsonian Institution by the state of Veracruz in 2001.