Olmec Sculpture of a Fantastic Creature - PF.0248, Origin: Xochipala, Mexico, Circa: 900 BC to 500 BC, Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Olmec, Medium: Terracotta. Enigmatic, magical, even disturbing, this unique sculpture touches a chord deep in the subconscious of every person who views it. How any individual reacts depends on personal experience--where one has been, what one knows and believes. It is impossible to be neutral or objective in describing it; the same features take on a myriad of meanings, the possiblities are infinite. Some have seen a Meso-American Jonah myth, a man struggling within a whale, the hollow space representing the stomach where he lives. Others see a shark-man, an alligator, an amphibious water spirit. Some believe it is a medical talisman designed to cure illness-- ulcers or cancer. A costumed shaman or a demon of the underworld have also been suggested. Perhaps it is the very first creature ever to climb above the primeval morass and declare itself to be human. In the presence of this extraordinary object, one is intrigued, mystified, challenged, but never bored. It opens a path to the past we may never have considered before.