Pre-Columbian, Mexico and northern Central America, Mayan Territories, Late Classic, ca. 550 to 900 CE. A gorgeous collection of ancient Mayan beads: dozens of thin, round greenstone beads interspersed with larger spherical white shell beads. Five thin bars of ancient gold/copper alloy have been added to the sides to create an interesting, flared look. The shell beads have deeply incised, swirling motifs on them that from a distance make them look like small rosebuds. Length of necklace: 21" L (53.3 cm)
Unlike many other ancient civilizations, the Mayans did not have cemeteries or necropolises; instead, they buried both human remains and ritual caches of pottery filled with offerings, jade, beads, and other precious items throughout their lived-in-landscape, especially as part of their architecture. These all seem to have been "earth offerings," and may have been dedications for newly built construction, markers for the end of use of a building, or some kind of renewal ceremony relating to the broader concept of Mayan cosmology: the cycle of planting, harvest, and rebirth. Caches have been found in floors, in the fill of buildings, or set into walls. Beads and jewelry were very important components of these offerings.
Provenance: ex-private New York, USA collection
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