- 600–900 CE
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 pendant with frontal face would have originally been suspended from a necklace or brooch. The incised lines form the face of the figure, who wears an elaborate headdress with central medallion, large beaded necklace, and earspools. This image may represent an ancestor, an elite individual, or the king himself.
Elaine Higgins Smith, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2016.
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).