PENDANT OF A MAN WITH OPOSSUM TRAITS
Talismanic pendant depicting the hybrid figure of a man with traits of an opossum, an animal usually associated with fertility. Long, rectangular and narrow in shape, the creature has a head, eyes, a necklace and arms folded on its belly. The last third of the pendant is polished yet un-carved and forms a ritual axe. The Indians worked pre-Columbian jade, which is much harder than Chinese jade with the help of string saws and sand. The pendant is made of a bluish green jadeite with polished light and aquatic reflections. It is pierced with a conical hole used for suspension that would have been carved using an archaic trephine. Excellent state of preservation.
Costa Rica was once a major centre for the work and use of jade in pre-Columbian America. It is believed that the emergence of jade work is linked to the hierarchic placement of the society. Jade, which at the time was considered more valuable than gold, was reserved for the elite and highest aristocracy, who wore it during their lifetime and placed it in their tombs. The people also wore jade in more rustic pebble forms as a symbol of their different social class. It was used more frequently in the South than in the North where gold was more appreciated, however from the “flourishing” period, some individuals carried the two together. The prestige of jade was also due to the scarcity of its deposits. The most important was in Guatemala in the valley of the Motagua River.