Crown Ornament (Hu’unal)

Cleveland Museum of Art

About the work

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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.

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