Pre-Columbian, Mexico or Guatemala, Late Olmec to early Mayan, ca. 400 BCE to 1 CE. An impressive figural pendant, finely carved from apple green jade with nice translucency, depicting a Mayan ruler or lord, proudly standing with openwork arms folded across the chest, hands with palms pressed together, and skillfully string-cut facial features upon an expressive visage including wide open coffee-bean shaped eyes, a straight noble nose, and full Olmecoid lips and cheeks, perforated from upper to lower ends for suspension or attachment to clothing. An exquisite apple-green jade figural pendant boasting nice translucency with russet inclusions that add to its aesthetic as well as highly symbolic iconography. Size: 1.625" W x 2.125" H (4.1 cm x 5.4 cm)
Just as green jade was reserved for elite Chinese emperors, in Mesoamerica, precious articles made from jade were reserved for royalty. Illustrating this, the Aztec leader Moctezuma gave the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés four jade beads as tribute, noting that each bead was worth two loads of gold. The Spanish conquistadores, however, only longed for gold, dismissing jade treasures as nothing more than lackluster green rocks. Moctezuma was amused by this foolish preference of the Spaniards.
Provenance: Ex-Adeon Gallery, Chicago, IL, acquired prior to 1970.
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