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History & Civilizations

The Olmecs and the cultures of the Gulf of Mexico

90 min visit

Quai Branly Museum
19 May → 3 Oct 2021
From Tue to Sun, from 10:30am to 7pm. Nocturnal Thu > 10pm. Closed Mon

« History lovers, do not wait to discover this mysterious and no less founding Mesoamerican civilization »

A few millennia ago, in 1600 B.C., on a marshy land in the heart of the Gulf of Mexico regions, Olmec culture flourished. Although it remained unknown until the second half of the 19th century, this mysterious civilization is one of the most important in Mesoamerica. For the first time in Europe, the Quai Branly unveils this cultural richness with more than two hundred Olmec pieces, some shown outside Mexico for the first time. With a deep artistic sensibility, they evoke the beginnings of urbanization and village life, the appearance of the first forms of writing and the formation of large ceremonial centers and the ritual practices that accompanied them. They bear witness to the richness of the Olmec civilization, but also to its important economic, social, political, intellectual and artistic legacy on Mesoamerican cultures. Through this very analysis, the exhibition dives into the immense diversity of the cultures of the Gulf to reveal the richness of their traditions, languages, arts and political relations.


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