Jadeite works of varying sizes and shapes helped complete the attire of elite individuals. Their colorful garb included valuable materials, such as woven textiles, pelts, feathers, and worked mollusk shell. Form alone does not dictate the function of an ornamental object, as iconographic depictions indicate that similar forms of objects were used in diverse ways.
This irregularly shaped, elongated jadeite object bears a perforation in the center and a row of three tiny holes to one side. The funnel-like, sloping surface around the central perforation is reminiscent of trumpet-shaped earflares. However, the back side retains a rounded shape and lacks the spool portion of an earflare. The work is likely a finished item because the drilling of the tiny holes would have probably comprised the final production stage. The proper orientation of the piece cannot be determined, but the well-polished, concave side was surely meant to be the visible one, while the back was only minimally smoothed. Other elements, such as feathers, may have been suspended from the tiny holes. Some remnants of unidentified pink and rusty red-colored residue appear inside the central perforation as well as on the back side.
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. 251, cat. 116-D, pl. LXVII, fourth, right center.
Bliss, Robert Woods 1959 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. 2nd ed. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, London. p. 259, cat. 116-D, pl. LXVII, fourth, right center.
Pillsbury, Joanne, Miriam Doutriaux, Reiko Ishihara-Brito and Alexandre Tokovinine (EDS.) 2012 Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, Number 4. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., p. 260, 262-265, pl. 45 (right), fig. 152.
"Lasting Impressions: Body Art in the Ancient Americas" , Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 10/1/2011 - 3/4/2012.
Purchased from Robert Stolper, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1956.
Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1956-1962.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.