Masked Figure Pendant

Date: 4th–8th century

Geography: Costa Rica

Culture: Atlantic Watershed

Medium: Jadeite

Dimensions: H. 4 1/2 x W. 1 1/2 in. (11.4 x 3.8 cm)

Classifications: Stone-Ornaments, Jade

Credit Line: Purchase, Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest, 1994

Accession Number: 1994.429


Excavations in Costa Rica have revealed that jade objects worn in life were consistently placed as offerings in burials; in some instances, they were found on the neck of the deceased. This standing masked figure with bent knees has arms raised to chest level, holding something between his hands or simply resting them on his plump abdomen. The figure is unclothed except for the mask, with its large upturned snout or beak and a tripartite crested headdress. Carved from a light green jade, shallow incisions and deep grooves interrupt the highly polished surface to delineate anatomy and ornament. A drill hole through the neck allows for suspension.