Olmecoid Sculpture of a Woman - PF.5415, Origin: Morelos, Mexico, Circa: 900 BC to 500 BC, Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Olmecoid, Medium: Terracotta. Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has manipulated the environment, reforming the natural materials into new forms. While tool making answered functional necessities, the creation of art filled a spiritual void. Some of the earliest works of art known to us are fertility goddesses whose overflowing bodies accentuate their fecundity. When mankind was just beginning to comprehend its own existence, and to secure its continued prosperity, fertility idols help assure worried minds that they could secure their well-being through the reverence of the gods memorialized by the sculptures. This terracotta goddess, associated with the Olmec civilization, the earliest mother culture of Mesoamerica, is one such idol. The general forms of the sculpture, especially the slanted, narrow eyes, are clearly derived from Olmec art. We can imagine some ancient Mesoamerican honoring this work with libations of food and drink. In turn, the goddess would bestow fertility upon her faithful servant. If the worshipper is already pregnant, such a work can help ensure a healthy birth without complications. Today, this work harkens back to an earlier time when mankind’s understanding of the world was outweighed by superstitions and fear of the gods. This goddess is a memorial to an ancient culture and a forgotten world.