Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico/Guatemala, Olmec, ca. 1150 to 500 BCE. An expertly carved greenstone pendant depicting a hunchback figure carved in the round, with a compromised position dictated by his pronounced physiognomic deformity, arms slightly extended before him, and a lateral perforation behind the neck for suspension. His visage presents a characteristically elongated head with slightly slanted eyes, a protruding nose, and full lips. Size: 1.75" H (4.4 cm); 3" H (7.6 cm) on included custom stand.
Scholars have theorized that in the Pre-Columbian world deformities such as hunchbacks were regarded as signs that these individuals were special, touched by the deities, and as such they were oftentimes chosen to be shaman. In addition to this meaningful iconography, the skillful workmanship and the inherent beauty of the jade with its blue-green hues and areas of translucency make this piece very impressive.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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