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Bird Pendant

Date:
1st–5th century
Geography:
Costa Rica
Culture:
Atlantic Watershed
Medium:
Jadeite
Dimensions:
H. 2 5/8 x W. 3/4 x D. 1 7/8 in. (6.7 x 1.9 x 4.7 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Ornaments
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.1138
  • Description

    Tropical Costa Rica is the habitat of an enormous number of bird species, many of which acquired symbolic dimensions in depictions in stone. This pendant, made of a jadeite of great clarity, features a toucan. Yet its upright stance and folded arms indicate that the figure is anthropomorphic, implying perhaps that it is a masked or transformation figure. Adding to the complexity of the image is a trophy head where the figure's feet should be. Disembodied heads are frequent in Precolumbian Costa Rican art. This pendant is said to be from the Atlantic Watershed region, one of the two primary areas of jade use in ancient times. The other is the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Each area is generally associated with characteristic stylistic features in jade and other antiquities.

  • Provenance

    [Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, until 1965]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1965, on loan to the Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1965–1978

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
313330

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