Pair of Earflare Frontals

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

About the work

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Ear stretching is an ancient form of body modification. Jewelry or plugs are inserted into piercings, increasing in size over time. In Mesoamerica, ear spools were worn by men and women. The Náhuatl word for the ornaments is "nacochtli." Nacochtlis are made from metal, stone, leather, bone, or wood. They were a marker of social status, military rank, or divinity, and were notably worn by midwives. Jade is a symbol of fertility and the floral motif on this pair of gauges reinforces the stone's fecund and life-like qualities.

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