|Monument 19, La Venta, Tabasco. "Seated man in serpent".|
a) Joseph Campbell wrote about Monument 19
"A further and particularly striking illustration of the possibility of Old World mythological motifs recurring in the New appears in Figures 102, where a Middle American counterpart of both the Hindu vision of the Vishnu on the serpent and the earlier Egyptian scene of Osiris on the cosmic crocodile is to be seen
The feathered serpent portrayed here combines the natures of the two traditional animal vehicles of Vishnu, the sun-bird Garuda of the upper worlds and the serpent Ananta of the lower, while the jaguar mask of the seated human figure suggests both Vishnu in his incarnation as the "Man-Lion" and the leonine Egyptian sphinx, symbolic of pharaonic rule.
Moreover, the little bag or bucket extended in the right hand of this seated jaguar- man has been identified as probably a container of powdered copal*— used to this day in Mexico as incense, the usual ritual symbol (known to Egypt and India as well as to both pagan and Catholic Rome) of the odor of sacrifice as a fragrance pleasing to gods.
Further: the left hand of this seated figure is held somewhat awkwardly (as remarked by the archaeologists-discoverers, “turned at the wrist with the palm out”), in a gesture that in the Orient would be everywhere interpreted as the “boon-bestowing hand posture” (varada-mudra) of a divinity; and the fact that the Olmec artist even over-strained his art to render it in the profile of his relief suggests that the gesture must have had some such ritual meaning in the Middle America as well.”
( "The Mythic Image", originally published in 1974, Joseph Campbell)