Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Double Crocodile Pendant

Date:
8th–10th century
Geography:
Panama
Culture:
Macaracas
Medium:
Gold, quartz
Dimensions:
H. 1 1/2 x W. 1 1/2 x D. 1 1/8 in. (3.8 x 3.8 x 2.8 cm)
Classification:
Metal-Ornaments
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
1979.206.733
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
Depicted on this pendant are two side-by-side composite creatures in which the long, toothy snouts with extended, bifurcated tongues of crocodiles are combined with the curled-up noses of bats and flowing crests of iguanas. The accumulation of such specific animal features—though little understood today—may have referred to the wearer's status and his ability to control natural and/or supernatural forces. The pairing of figures is found on some of the earliest known Central American gold objects and continued until the time of the conquest. Its purpose may have been to increase the potency of the image. This cast gold pendant incorporates two stones of translucent pink quartz that depict the tails of the beasts and contribute to the visual appeal of the piece through the juxtaposition of different colors and textures.
[John Wise Ltd., New York, until 1958]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1958, on loan to the Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1958–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 459.

Jones, Julie, and Heidi King. "Gold of the Americas." The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art vol. 59, no. 4 (Spring 2002), p. 42.



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