Maya, Classic Period 300-900 CE
Imperial Green Jade
Height: 2 ½ inches
Provenance: Ex. David Campbell collection, Canada, 1998
Published: Norman Hammond, Ancient Maya Civilization, New Brunswicke, New Jersey, 1982, pp.268-69; Alastair Bradley Martin, The Guennol Collection vol. II, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, pp.136-37


Jade has been historically held in high value for its beautiful color, smooth grain, and difficulty in carving. In Mesoamerica it was imbued with symbolic meaning, often carved into beads, ornaments, the shapes of rulers or supernatural deities, and incised with fantastic scenes. It was such a precious material that not a scrap was wasted, hence the mosaic composition of this beautiful piece. Indeed, the central nose and mouth tile may have been re-claimed from an earlier work. The mosaic tiles were found loose, but were likely originally set on wood and worn as a pendant from the drill hole in the center of the forehead.