Art/ Collection/ Art Object


4th–7th century
Costa Rica
Atlantic Watershed
H. 2 3/4 x W. 2 3/4 in. (7 x 7 cm)
Stone-Ornaments, Jade
Credit Line:
Gift of Carol R. Meyer, 1996
Accession Number:
Not on view
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

Abel-Vidor, Suzanne. Between Continents, Between Seas: Precolumbian Art of Costa Rica. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1981.

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