Pre-Columbian, Mexico and northern Central America, Mayan Territories, Late Classic, ca. 550 to 900 CE. A beautifully-preserved shell pendant with a round, pale greenstone inlay in its center. The shell is concave, with its edges carved into a series of points to form a regular dodecagon. Around the inlay are two figures: on the left (facing), a human, possibly a deceased captive, with his eyes closed and his hands bound; on the right is a jaguar with some anthropomorphic qualities, wearing bracelets, an anklet, and holding what appears to be a flame, probably representing a shaman. Above the inlaid stone is a glyph-like square that includes an avian figure with a long beak - a heron or pelican? Birds were sacred animals in Mayan cosmology, revered for their ability to fly. These incised motifs have red cinnabar rubbed into the incised lines, which makes them stand out from the pale beige color of the shell. Two tiny holes drilled above the bird alowed this pendant to be sewn onto clothing or looped through with a cord for wearing around the neck. Size: 2.75" W x 2.75" H (7 cm x 7 cm); 4.05" H (10.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex Ian Arundel collection, California, USA
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Small chip from one corner that does not impact the artwork. Nice patina from age and handling. Excellent preservation of motifs. Light deposits on greenstone.