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Photo Credit: Joe Mills

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Pair of Earrings

Mixtec, Postclassic, general
900-1520 CE
6.03 cm x 2.22 cm x 1.91 cm (2 3/8 in. x 7/8 in. x 3/4 in.)
gold, turquoise

Not on view


This pair of earrings combines mask-like faces with a suspended flat bar from which dangle elongated bells. The faces are typical of Mixtec-style ornaments, and important examples of this type of mask-like face have been found on gold objects from several locations. Most famous are those from the Mixtec Tomb 7 at Monte Albán, which include plaques and pectorals.

The grinning faces of the PC.B.109 objects have eyes in the shape of concentric circles, typical of the way that eyes are depicted on monkeys in Central Highlands art. The plaques are suspended from the ends of pointed goatees. The ears have very large holes from which dangle earrings in the pointed oval shape.

Benson, Elizabeth P. 1963 Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 27-8, cat. 135.

Heiniger, Ernst A., Jeanne Heiniger and Eduard Josef Gübelin 1974 The Great Book of Jewels. New York Graphic Society, Boston. pl. 134.

Exhibition History
"Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico", Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles CA, 4/1 - 7/1/2012; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX, 7/29 - 11/25/2012.

Acquisition History
Purchased from Earl Stendahl, Los Angeles (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1962.

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

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

Anthropomorphic | Heads | Mixtecs