Olmec Sportsman

Olmec Sportsman

This guy comes from the Olmec culture of ancient Mexico, which is regarded as the “founder culture” of ancient Mesoamerican civilization. They laid the foundation for many institutions common throughout the region’s cultures (including the Aztecs and Maya), such as writing, pyramidal architecture, the calendar, human sacrifice, and the ritual ballgame. As you might guess from his helmet, this character would have probably worked as one of the players in the Olmec ballgame. His headgear was drawn using the Olmecs’ famous giant stone heads as reference.

There are a lot of claims floating around that the Olmec were of African origin, but personally I believe they were Native American like the other ancient Mesoamerican peoples. In my opinion, claiming the Olmecs were non-Native has a racist subtext every bit as problematic as the white supremacist claim that the ancient Egyptians, Zimbabweans, etc. were really “Caucasian” or non-African. This is why I have chosen to depict my Olmec guy as Native rather than African like some other artists.

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