Pendant Mask

Date: 13th–15th century

Geography: Dominican Republic, Caribbean, Hiquëy, Macao area, reportedly

Culture: Taino

Medium: Bone

Dimensions: H. 3-5/8 x W. 3 7/8 in.

Classification: Bone/Ivory-Ornaments

Credit Line: Purchase, Oscar de la Renta Gift, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.35.1

Description

Large, prominent eye sockets and evenly matched teeth exhibit the skeletonization of human and animal forms characteristic of Taino art. At the sides of the pendant, amphibian-like arms and legs carved in low relief suggest the crouching posture common in Taino art. Small openings framed by incised circles that may depict glands are positioned near the top of the pendant at the sides and undoubtedly functioned as suspension holes. Natural fissures in the bone surface reinforce the bilateral symmetry of the composition. Although elements of the composition are apparently derived from the natural world, their combination and presentation in this pendant strongly suggest a supernatural creature.

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