Greenstone; W. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1964 (1978.412.117)
This flat, rectangular pendant depicts four profile faces with long, toothy snouts at each corner joined to undulating, spotted bodies separated by two round holes. The creatures may represent serpents, felines, or crocodilians, or a combination of these animals. All were commonly associated with water and fertility in Mesoamerica. The composition is bilaterally symmetrical on both horizontal and vertical axes. Two small holes at the top in back are for suspension.
The pendant is worked in a stone of green color, a hue symbolic of water, fertility, and life. Greenstone was thus considered more precious than gold by the peoples of ancient Mexico. The pendant is attributed to the Mixtecs of southern Mexico, renowned for their lapidary artistry.