A lovely example of the apple-green jadeite favored by the Maya, this small, square bead depicts a creature with a large, fanged mouth. The curve of the upper jaw extends in a graceful diagonal across the width of the bead. Four pointed teeth, graduating in size from smallest at the back of the mouth to largest at the front of the mouth, descend from the upper jaw, creating an expression of an open-mouthed snarl. A centrally placed eye clearly implies the use of a hollow tubular drill. The object, which is carved in three dimensions with a mirror image of the fanged creature on the reverse side, was also drilled through from side to side in order to suspend it in its proper orientation.
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. 14, cat. 62.
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. 250, cat. 108, pl. LXV.
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. 258, cat. 108, pl. LXV.
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. 228-229, pl. 33, fig. 131.
"Indigenous Art of the Americas", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, April 1947-July 1949, November 1952-July 1962.
Purchased from Charles L. Morley, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1947.
Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1947-1962.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.