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Ear Spool

Mixtec-Aztec, Postclassic, general
900-1520 CE
3.18 cm x 1.27 cm (1 1/4 in. x 1/2 in.)

Not on view


This object was carved from rock crystal, and its transparent beauty is matched by the high level of artisanship necessary to produce something so delicate from such a hard material that is also relatively brittle.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1947 Indigenous Art of the Americas : Collection of Robert Woods Bliss. National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian institution, Washington, D.C., p. 19, 95, cat. 86.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1957 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, New York. p. 244, cat. 70, pl. L.

Matos Moctezuma, Eduardo and Felipe R. Solís Olguín 2002 Aztecs. Royal Academy of Arts, London. p. 255, 448, cat. 195, (catalogue entry by Loa Traxler).

Matos Moctezuma, Eduardo and Felipe R. Solís Olguín 2003 Azteken. DuMont Literatur und Kunst Verlag, Köln. p. 255, 448, cat. 195.

Saunders, Nicholas J. 2003 "Catching the Light": Technologies of Power and Enchantment in Pre-Columbian Goldworking. In Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia: A Symposium at Dumbarton Oaks, 9 and 10 October 1999, Jeffrey Quilter and John W. Hoopes, eds., pp. 15-47. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Washington, D.C., p. 20, fig. 2.

Solís Olguín, Felipe R. and Martha Carmona Macías 1995 El Oro Precolombino De México: Colecciones Mixteca Y Azteca. Américo Arte Editores, México, D.F.

Exhibition History
“Indigenous Art of the Americas”, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., April 1947–May 1948, January 1956–July 1962

"Lasting Impressions: Body Art in the Ancient Americas" , Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 10/1/2011 - 3/4/2012.

Acquisition History
Purchased from Earl Stendahl, Los Angeles (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1942.

Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1942-1962.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.

Aztecs | Ear ornament | Mixtecs