TITLE: Necklace with pendant shell engraved with glyphs
CULTURE: Mayan, Mexico
PERIOD: P. Classic Period, 300 - 900 AD
DIMENSIONS: Width 15.5 cm; height 16 cm; length of necklace 130 cm
PRICE: 5,500 Euros
PROVENANCE: Private collection, J. F., Barcelona. Acquired in the 1970s.
CONDITION: In a good state of preservation.
A necklace with beading made from alternating cone-shaped and spherical shells, and with a very large spondylus shell as its central piece. Due to the size of the central shell and the resulting weight of the piece, we are dealing with a piece of jewellery to be worn by a deceased person, or destined to make up part of the grave goods of an important member of Mayan society. The most important point of interest of the piece is the incised inscription on the inner face of the shell in two vertical registers each made up of six glyphs.
Spondylus is a native oyster easily recognisable for its thorny shell. It is found off the coasts of the Pacific near Ecuador. Its most notable characteristic is its orange-red colour. This led to it becoming a material of great value, collected and exchanged throughout all of Mesoamerica. It was mostly used for decorated jewellery for important people in these societies. This is clear from the presences of this material in the tombs of those of the governing classes.