Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Maya, Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 900 CE. A stunning necklace strung with dozens of spherical beads formed from apple-green jade. Each half of the composition displays several petite beads interspersed with groups of 86% gold (equivalent to 20K+ gold), and a pair of hemispherical gold roundels with raised, tightly coiled spirals hang near the midsection. A central, hand-carved jade pendant depicts a seated figure with one bent leg tucked beneath the upper body, clasped hands, and a lobed headdress atop the elongated head. The pendant boasts a meticulously polished surface and a smooth texture, and a biconically drilled suspension hole is situated just behind the head. Capped with a modern gold-filled loop and lobster clasp, this is a gorgeous necklace ready to be worn for any occasion! Size (necklace): 18.875" L (47.9 cm); size of largest bead (figurative pendant): 1.25" W x 2" H (3.2 cm x 5.1 cm); quality of gold: 86% (equivalent to 20K+).
Jade was revered by the Maya not only for its beauty, but also because it had spiritual power - it was believed to be the embodiment of the wind and the "breath" that formed the Maya soul. In addition, scholars argue that its color was associated with water and vegetation. While the Maya used jade beads to create impressive jewelry, we also know that they placed jade beads in the mouths of the dead, perhaps as a means of extending the circle of life. Furthermore, many scholars have argued that the demand for jadeite contributed to the rise of long distance trading networks as well as the rise of urban centers in ancient Mesoamerica.
Provenance: ex-Arte Primitivo Gallery, New York, New York, USA; ex-private New York, USA collection
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Strung in modern times and wearable as shown. Jade beads, figurative pendant, and gold beads are ancient, and stringing and gold-filled components are modern. Minor nicks to some beads, with slight bending to overall form of spiraling gold roundels, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits and fine patina throughout.