Spherical bead with four glyphs

CULTURE:
Maya
DATE:
200–800 CE
more object details

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.

The carved images kings wore on their foreheads and chests projected supernatural power. This carved jadeite spherical bead would have originally been part of a necklace. The holes at the top and bottom are surrounded by incised circles, and each of the four sides are decorated with glyphs comprised of human and animal figures.

Elaine Higgins Smith, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2016.

Drawn from

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

  • Carol Robbins, Label text [1973.46], A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2010.

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