Necklace of Shells with Two Pendants - ROM2019_17411_7


Necklace of Shells with Two Pendants

Maker: Casas Grandes Culture
Geography: Casas Grandes Valley, Mexico
Date: AD 1200 - 1400
Object number: HMC450
Not on view

In the Chihuahuan desert of northern Mexico, the Casas Grandes culture flourished in the regional centre of Paquimé from 1200-1400 AD. Paquimé is the largest known ancient Puebloan town and was a massive trade centre that specialized in exotic goods like macaws, turquoise, and sea shells like these ones. Shells were transported to Paquimé from the Gulf of California, over 400km away. The shells likely had religious meaning since groups across Mesoamerica and South America, such as the Maya, Aztec, and Ancestral Pueblo, associated shells with fertility and rainfall.This style of jewelry, with two clam shell valves as the pendants, is very common throughout the American Southwest. The piece of turquoise on this necklace shared similar symbolic connotations and was sometimes paired with shell on necklaces.  

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