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About the work

curationist logoCurationist Object Description
Maya rulers wore jade images of deities on their royal garb. Doing so linked their rule to a larger cosmic worldview. This jadeite-albitite plaque of a deity is rendered in profile and carved with holes for attachment to a paper crown or headband.

Ancient Mesoamericans believed jade could emit moisture and breath. For Mayans jade was further linked to water, becoming a direct embodiment of the element. As a stone of life, fertility, and regeneration, jade provided the elite with a connection to the spiritual realm.

Cleveland Museum of Art Object Description

This plaque, which represents the head of a deity affiliated with Maya royalty, served as a ruler’s crown ornament (hu’unal). It was attached to the crown via the holes along the back edge in such a way that the identical carvings on both sides were visible. The ornament is now broken along the upper edge.

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