Edged with abstract renditions of ten human trophy heads, this jade pendant has a large central hole and two upper perforations through which to thread a cord for suspension. The taking of heads as trophies in ancient Costa Rica is believed to have been a way in which victorious warriors appropriated the knowledge and power of their defeated enemies. Greenstone held a position of importance among the peoples of ancient Costa Rica, and jade objects—perhaps heirlooms—were occasionally recarved to suit new owners or different purposes. This pendant may have been reworked from a piece of jade already possessing a central hole.
[Spencer Throckmorton, New York]; Carol R. Meyer, New York, until 1996