Pendant depicting a figure wearing a headdress

550–800 CE
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General Description

Jade and other greenstones were the most precious materials for the ancient Maya, equivalent to emeralds and diamonds in Western culture. Not only was jade carved into beads that functioned as both jewelry and currency, but this lustrous material was also carved into magical objects that were alive with soul-force and, thus, either useful or potentially harmful.

This pendant portrays a Maya lord wearing the helmet mask of the 18-Rabbit-Snake, one of several mythical battle beasts whose spirits kings summoned in warfare to terrify their enemies. A Maya lord probably carried this pendant as an amulet in his textile-wrapped bundle of power objects.

Excerpt from

Carol Robbins, Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.