Collecting Masterpieces
Photo of pre-colombian-america-anthropomorphic-striker-pendant-with-a-bird


Pre-Colombian America
Central America

Ex collection of Thierry Huet


Object :
Nº 1844
Medium :
Dimensions :
Length: 19 cm (7.4”) – Width: 1.7 cm (0.6”) – Height: 2.5 cm (0.9”)

Anthropomorphic pendant depicting a character with a lacy crest on the upper section and a mouth transforming into a bird's beak. The Indians worked pre-Columbian jade, which is much harder than Chinese jade with the help of string saws and sand. Jadeite pierced with a conical hole used for suspension with an archaic and sculpted drill bit, brightly polished with aquatic reflections. There is a partial and very old crack, probably inherent in the stone. 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 only 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 at the beginning of the “flourishing” period, some individuals did carry 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. The striker was used during the beginning of the pre-classical period in the Gulf of the Caribbean, used most notably by the Olmecs. It is very likely that this particular form was taught to the inhabitants of Costa Rica.