**First Time At Auction**
Pre-Columbian, Olmec culture, ca. 1150 to 550 BCE and Maya, probably Guatemala, Late Classic period, ca. 500 to 800 CE. Three tapered hand tools of a highly stylized ceremonial form with a curved blade. Meticulously carved from jadeite and then sanded smooth, these celts were probably used for a votive function - carried in a ceremony and/or buried with the deceased. Comes with custom stand. Size: largest celt measures 2.375" W x 4.125" H (6 cm x 10.5 cm); 5.25" H (13.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Research in the late 1990s and early 2000s pinpointed the source of "Olmec blue" jadeite at being in the lowland Motagua River near the modern day border of Guatemala and Honduras; stone from this source was carved and traded widely throughout early Mesoamerica. The value of jade for ancient people lay in its symbolic power: perhaps its color was associated with water and vegetation; later, the Maya would place jade beads in the mouths of the dead. Many scholars have argued that the demand for jadeite contributed to the rise of long distance trading networks and to the rise of urban centers in ancient Mesoamerica.
Provenance: private Arizona, USA collection
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