< Back to collection

Winged Figure

Catalogue Description:
Jade carving of the upper torso and head of a small winged figure with the typical Olmec elongated, flattened head, drooping lips, and drilled ear lobes. The wings have been identified as those of a bat, a nocturnal animal associated with the darkness of the underworld. The wings also have scalloped edges and fine incised lines that recall the wings of a butterfly, a potent symbol of transformation. Four small drill holes along the edges of the wings may have been used to sew the figure to clothing or to a headress. The fact that this figurine was found in Costa Rica suggests that Olmec-style carvings were highly valued there, and indicate that extensive trading networks existed throughout Mesoamerica.

Brooklyn Museum Logo