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Figural Pendant
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Figural Pendant

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Jadeite is a dense alumina silicate of the pyroxene mineral family. The preferred stone for denoting status and sacredness throughout Mesoamerica, its value was based on its relative scarcity, the polished stone's bright, shiny surface , its translucent colors (ranging from light green to a rich blue-green), and the challenge of carving the stone due to the stone's hardness. In addition to the impressive visual qualities and scarcity, jadeite was symbolically linked to the miracle of the earth's fecundity, the maize god, and the life-giving promise of green plants and blue-green water. Together, these attributes made jadeite the most valuable of all materials to adorn the nobility and the gods. The Maya also fashioned adornments from similar green-colored stones whose visual properties resemble those of jadeite. It is difficult to discern the correct geological identification of these adornments without technical analyses. This pendant exemplifies the aesthetic variety and technical expertise of Classic Maya jadeite carvers. The pendant is carved in the standardized frontal rendering of a noble person wearing the formal head gear of the ruling elite, with unique features that document more than five hundred years of the jadeite carver's art. The flat pendant exemplifies Middle Classic figural pendant styles with the distinctive headdresses and impressive jadeite earflares and bead necklaces worn by the nobility.
  • Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1400 A.D.. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe. 1998-2008.
  • Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
Provenance Ron Messick Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, 1990s, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009

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AD 450-650 (Middle Classic)
Accession Number
H: 2 5/8 x W: 1 5/8 x D: 5/16 in. (6.7 x 4.2 x 0.8 cm)
  • Honduras (Place of Origin)
  • Guatemala (Place of Origin)
  • Belize (Place of Origin)
  • Mexico (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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