Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Maya Territories, Maya, Late Classic Period, ca. 600 to 900 CE. An exquisite jadeite pendant of a flat, oblong form with carefully delineated edges and meticulous detailing. Depicted on the obverse is a seated figure of importance, with flowing clothing and a dignified posture. His right-facing visage is surrounded by an abstract zoomorphic headdress, which is perhaps symbolic of the important personage 'emerging' out of the mouth of this animal spirit. The fine carving lines exhibit a smoothness characteristic of fine Maya lapidary techniques, and vivid red pigment is rubbed throughout every curve and crevice. Tiny perforations along the upper corner and on the tip of the nose enable this pendant to be worn on a necklace or sewn as ornamentation onto clothing. A superb example replete with expert imagery and sophisticated technique. Size: 2.875" W x 4.5" H (7.3 cm x 11.4 cm); 5.4" H (13.7 cm) on included custom stand.
The value of jade for ancient Mesoamericans lay in its symbolic power: its color was associated with water and vegetation, and the renewal of the agricultural cycle. It was also believed to be the embodiment of the wind and the "breath" that formed the Maya soul. Just as green jade was reserved for elite Chinese emperors, in the Pre-Columbian world precious articles made from jade were reserved for royalty. Though post-dating the Maya, a legendary story about the Aztec leader Moctezuma illustrates just how valuable jade was to the ancients of the Americas. Moctezuma gave the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes four jade beads as tribute, noting that each bead was worth two loads of gold. The Spanish conquistador, however, only longed for gold, and dismissed the jade treasures as nothing more than lackluster green rocks. Moctezuma was amused by this foolish preference of the Spaniard.
Provenance: ex-Merrin Gallery, New York, New York, USA; ex-Robert Huber collection, acquired in the 1960s
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.
Repaired across midsection, with light resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Red pigment was added later. Chips and losses to many peripheral areas as shown. Nicks to some etched details. Incredible remains of etched details and red pigment throughout.