09 Oct 2020 25 Jul 2021

The Olmecs and the Cultures of the Gulf of Mexico

Spotlight on the Olmec civilisation and the little-known world of pre-Columbian cultures of the Gulf of Mexico. A fascinating journey into over three millennia of history, exchanges and artistic traditions.

About the exhibition

It was at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico on marshy land south of the current states of Veracruz and Tabasco that the Olmec culture once flourished (Olmec coming from the word Olmán, meaning ‘rubber country’). It was one of the largest and most mysterious Mesoamerican civilisations. It was a civilisation with profound artistic sensibility that remained unknown until the second half of the nineteenth century, but that played a leading role in the history of Mexico and its region. The development of Mesoamerican canons and thought (economic, social, political, intellectual and artistic principles) bear witness to this, lasting up to the Spanish conquest.

The exhibition presented at the musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac sheds light on the Olmec civilisation and its spread over time (1600 av. è.c. jusqu’à 100 ap. è.c) and space. In total, over three  hundred items, some of which are shown for the first time outside Mexico, reveal the huge diversity of the Pre-Colombian world with cultures of the Gulf, a pluricultural dynamic that unfolded through a multitude of artistic traditions, beliefs, rites and languages in a complex fabric of political and economic relations. 

This exhibition is organised in collaboration with The Secretariat of Culture and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.



  • GENERAL Curator:

    • Cora Falero Ruiz, Scientific Advisor, Museo Nacional de Antropología, México, United Mexican States


    • Steve Bourget, Archaeologist and curator at the Americas Department, musée du quai Branly- Jacques Chirac
  • Place:   Mezzanine est
  • TimeSlots:  
    From Friday 09 October 2020 at Sunday 25 July 2021
  • Closed on monday
    Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:  10:30 am-07:00 pm
    Thursday:  10:30 am-10:00 pm
  • Accessibility:
    • Handicap visuel
    • LSF
    • Handicap auditif bim (T)
  • Public:   All publics
  • Categorie : Exhibitions
  • Museum ticket entrance
    Full price:  12,00 €
    Reduce rate:  9,00 €

    Click here to see all rates

05 Nov
Jacques Kerchache Reading Room Events

Rencontre avec Steve Bourget

Autour de l'exposition "Les Olmèques et les cultures du Golfe du Mexique"

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Rencontre avec Steve Bourget, responsable de collections Amérique au musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac et commissaire associé de l'exposition "Les Olmèques et les cultures du Golfe du Mexique".

02 Dec
Jacques Kerchache Reading Room Events

Contes des indiens du Chiapas

Lecture dans le noir

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Lecture dans le noir des "Contes des indiens du Chiapas" de Baptiste Condominas (Actes Sud Junior, 2009) par des lecteurs de l'association Percevoir.

Around the event

Guided tours, workshops, concerts, etc.
all activities organized as part of the event

Around the event

En partenariat avec :