Pendant with a human face in Olmecoid style - 966.159.61_1


Pendant with a human face in Olmecoid style

Maker: Maya
Geography: Altun Ha, Belize District, Belize
Date: c. 500
Period: Terminal Yax - Initial Ceh Phase
2.6 × 2.15 × 74 cm
Object number: 966.159.61
On view
Gallery Location:Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific
DescriptionIn the 1960s and 1970s, the Royal Ontario Museum excavated the site of Altun Ha in Belize.  The site is far smaller than the largest Maya cities of Tikal and Calakmul. Yet Altun Ha has the largest amount of jade and other kinds of cut and polished stone. This unusual example was made from hematite and likely worn as a pendant. It evokes the Olmec style of the Veracruz region. The famous squat Olmec heads were made more than a thousand years earlier, but this piece likely refers to Maya styles that evoked Olmec themes at the end of the first millennium BC. Perhaps the individual in Burial A-1/2 sought to invoke the "timeless" nature of their status. 
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