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Costa Rican Jade Pendant of a Male Dignitary

Costa Rican Jade Pendant of a Male Dignitary

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Stone: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1195170

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Costa Rica, finely carved, blue-green jade, figure of seated male dignitary, Middle Polychrome Period, ca. 800 - 1200 C.E. Jade is 3 3/4" high x 1 7/8" wide x 1/4" deep. Height on custom stand is 4 3/4" high. Fully carved on both sides and depicted in profile. Wearing a tightly fitted headdress and ear spools with perforation through back of neck for suspension. Intact and in excellent condition. Ex: Allan L. Long collection, New York. According to archaeologist Michael J. Snarskis one of the principal shifts in elite material culture in prehistoric Costa Rica occurred when gold replaced jade as the preeminent valuable material in the middle of the first millennium A.D. Situated between Mesoamerica and the Andes, the region was always one of cultural dynamism, drawing on and influenced by both areas to varying degrees while at the same time creating its own distinctive cultural patterns. The shift from the primacy of jade to gold is interesting in and of itself, especially as jade had ceased to be an item of value in protohistoric and early historic cultures in Costa Rica. This jade to gold transition is one of the clearest examples of dramatic culture change in prehistoric America and an example of correspondence between ideology and material culture. At present,little is understood about why this change occurred or how it took place.