Description The small skull effigy pendant was made by the Maya of the Pacific Slopes of Guatemala. Similar in size, artistic quality, imagery, and function to the earlier Olmec pendant (2009.20.231), this expressive ornament demonstrates the continuity among later Mesoamerican peoples of body adornments functioning as symbols of identity, status, and power. This remarkably delicate pendant connotes the Mesoamerican ideology of death and rebirth as a central principle of the universe's natural cycle. It may also pertain to the shamanic journey between worlds, the shaman's passage to the supernatural realm being likened to death and rebirth.
Provenance Jorge Castillo [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Throckmorton Fine Art, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, July 26, 1995, by purchase; given to Walters Art Museum, 2014.
Credit Gift of John G. Bourne, 2014
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