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Figural Pendant
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Figural Pendant

Description Conservation 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. The Early Classic pendant is expertly carved from a small jadeite boulder, the artist deftly sculpting the irregularly shaped stone into an emotive figural artwork. The carver accentuated the earflares which serve as a frame for the figure's serene face as well as an overt sign of his high status.
Date Description Narrative
10/03/2011Examinationexamined for exhibition
  • 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 Throckmorton Fine Art, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, May 13, 1993, by purchase; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 2017.
Credit Bequest of John G. Bourne, 2017

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AD 250-450 (Early Classic)
Accession Number
H: 2 11/16 x W: 1 7/8 x D: 1/2 in. (6.86 x 4.83 x 1.27 cm)
  • Honduras (Place of Origin)
  • Mexico (Place of Origin)
  • Guatemala (Place of Origin)
  • Belize (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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