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Artist/Maker: Olmec (Gulf Coast, Mexico)

Date: ca. 1500-400 BCE
Medium: jade
Overall: 4 x 3 5/8 x 1 in. (10.2 x 9.2 x 2.5 cm)
Classification: Clothing, Accessories and Jewelry
Credit Line: Gift of The Rubin - Ladd Foundation
Object number: 2007.4.18
DescriptionOlmec lapidary artists used a combination of stone tools with abrasive materials in order to create delicate but expressive jade masks. Natural variations in the dark green stone have been skillfully incorporated in the facial features and the narrow eyes contrast sharply with a long nose and thick lips. As in most masks of this type, the mouth opens to reveal a row of teeth. Small cavities in the pupils and at the corners of the mouth may have held inlays. Both the size and the stylized traits of this mask point to a commemorative or ritual function. The material used and the sophisticated technique employed in its creation indicate this mask was a luxury item, suitable for inclusion in an elite burial or as a ritual offering.
Not on view