This pectoral is a splendor of Mayan art, a jewel worn by a man of royal lineage, for aesthetic, social and religious purposes. It is made of a magnificent jadeite, a variety of jade considered sacred in Mesoamerica, where men associated its blue-green color with water and saw in it a stone of life and fertility, even a stone of eternity capable of ensuring the survival of the soul in the afterlife.
The sculptural work is remarkable. The artist has deliberately composed with the natural shape of the raw jade plate, integrating it fully into his creation, perhaps to preserve the beauty and integrity of this precious material and thereby the effectiveness of the powers conferred upon it.
The finesse of the work attests to the intensity of the labor. Carving a rock as dense as jade is an asceticism, often compared to the slow process of perfection and elevation of the spirit. The soft and shiny finish, obtained after intensive polishing and glossing, is the brilliant result of a boundless devotion, which confirms the very high value of this work.
The man depicted is a ruler, wearing the regalia associated with his rank, namely a necklace with large beads, imposing ear drums pierced in their center and an elaborate headdress.
The face is concentrated, the coffee bean shaped eyes are closed, the nose is blunt, the cheeks are full and the mouth is small with thick lips, a physiognomy often found on portraits of Mayan lords and which suggests their participation in an important ritual, a state of trance or their condition as a deceased person ready to be buried for eternity but called to be reborn in the beyond.
The top of the head is curved and supports a vertically positioned grain that evokes germination, probably that of corn, a sacred plant intimately linked to jade by chromatic association, and to its power of fertility.
Scrolls frame the lord's face. Above, on the right and on the left, we can see snakes' heads, seen in profile with their mouths wide open. In Mayan myths and beliefs, these reptiles, which look like original beings, have a very strong symbolic link with the sky, the earth and the underworld, and their attributes can be found in the representations of numerous deities and supernatural creatures. Their presence here testifies to the cosmic dimension of the lord.
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