Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Art History

Department or School/College

School of Art

Committee Chair

H. Rafael Chacón

Committee Co-chair

Valerie Hedquist

Commitee Members

Kelly J. Dixon, Mary Ann Bonjorni


composite imagery, Olmec, Mesoamerica, were-jaguar, shamanism


University of Montana


Olmec iconography was a product of close observation of the natural world as well as shamanic trance visions. The Olmec transmitted their knowledge of the natural world in their naturalistic imagery and their knowledge of shamanism in depictions of precise ecstatic trance postures and supernatural composite imagery. Inherent to both artistic traditions is an understanding of the transformative processes of both the natural world and of the shamanic visionary experience. Additionally, the Olmec used their carving technique to inform and educate their intended viewers about the performance of transformative shamanic practice.


© Copyright 2014 Sarah Silberberg