Coiled serpent pendant

900–500 BCE
more object details

General Description

The carved stone images Olmec kings wore on their foreheads and chests projected supernatural power. This small, carved greenstone pendant in the shape of a coiled serpent would have originally been suspended from a necklace or brooch as indicated by the smaller drilled hole at the top of the figure. The serpent is depicted with the head at the top, with lightly incised lines indicating its facial features and scaly skin. The tail of the serpent is shown in a long coil or spiral. Objects such as these often accompanied the king on his journey through death to the otherworld.

Elaine Higgins Smith, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2015.

Drawn from

  • Carol Robbins, Label text [1968.20], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

  • Getty Vocabulary, AAT (pendants (jewelry): AAT: 300046002).

Fun Facts

  • A modern thread was attached for suspension.