Frog Pendant

Date: 4th–8th century

Geography: Costa Rica

Culture: Atlantic Watershed

Medium: Jadeite

Dimensions: H. 2 x W. 1 9/16 x D. 7/16 in. (5.1 x 4 x 1.1cm)

Classifications: Stone-Ornaments, Jade

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.206.846


The color of Mesoamerican jade, often called greenstone, ranges from a near white to a deep blue green. Associations with water, plant life, and thus fertility caused jade to be prized above all other materials in Mesoamerica. This carved pendant of light green jade flecked with white reinforces the symbolism of water with its amphibian subject. The frog presents a realistically rendered anatomy, including poison glands on top of the head behind the eyes, combined with the abstract details of a zigzag motif down the spine and the goggled eyes. The pendant was strung through a drilled hole on the sides of the abdomen just behind the front legs.