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Bird Pendant

Date:
1st century BCE–1st century CE
Geography:
Costa Rica
Culture:
Guanacaste-Nicoya
Medium:
Jade (jadeite)
Dimensions:
H. 1 5/8 x W. 7/8 x D. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 x 2.2 x 4.2 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Ornaments
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1993
Accession Number:
1993.302
  • Description

    The jade pendants and other ornaments made in the Central American region that is now the country of Costa Rica are among the area's most individual art forms. Archaeological evidence suggests that jade bird-form pendants were made and treasured as early as 500 B.C. and remained favorites for hundreds of years. Bird imagery is pervasive throughout this long period, as was the preference for fashioning ornaments out of green-colored stones. Jadeite, which was principally used in Costa Rica, came in many green tonalities, from pale blue-green—as seen here—to intense, almost black greens. This engaging fat bird with a long straight beak is worked almost in profile. Made to be viewed from both sides and suspended through a hole in its neck, it may also have had an additional ornament suspended from its own beak. The pendant is reported to be from Guanacaste Province in northwestern Costa Rica.

  • Provenance

    Jesus Alpizar, Costa Rica, early 1900s; by descent in family to Martha Alvarado Alpizar, Oregon, ca. 1940s–1993; sold for her by nephew Alfonso Alvarado Jimenez, 1993

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
316777

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