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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Jade : Mayan Jade Pendant Depicting a Human Face
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Mayan Jade Pendant Depicting a Human Face - PF.2402
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 1.25" (3.2cm) high x 1.75" (4.4cm) wide
Catalogue: V11
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Jade

Location: United States
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"Quentzalitztli (the name of emerald-green jade) comes form Quetzalli (Quetzal feather) and itztli (obsidian), because its appearance is like a green Quetzal feather. And its body is as transparent and as dense as obsidian. It is precious, esteemed, valuable; it is worthy of being cherished; it merits storing; it is desirable, worthy of envy..." These are words of the 16th century Spanish chronicler Sahagun, writing about New World jade and the highly evolved lapidary art he experienced during his travels in Meso-America. Miraculously enough, beautiful works of art such as this jade face pendant, were created by the Maya not through the use of metal tools, for jade was too hard to be worked by the metals available to te Pre-Columbian Maya. Instead, the artists used only hard stones, bamboo, twine, sand and water. With these few materials a Maya artist sawed, carved, sanded, drilled, abraded and polished the raw jade to produce this sophisticated work of art--one which is dramatically appealing to all who experience its spirit beauty. Perforated horizontally, perhaps this dynamic face pendant was worn by an ancient Mayan as a type of amulet, imbuing the wearer with its mystical powers. Whatever its previous function, we today are captivated by its spell, and in awe of the artist whose creative talents produced this timeless work of art. - (PF.2402)


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