Gold pendant with a miniature portrait

Maya, Late Classic/Postclassic period (AD 600-1521)
From Palenque, Mexico

This gold pendant, representing a Maya ruler, was allegedly found at Palenque by Frederick Waldeck, a French traveller and one of the first Europeans to visit the ancient city at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The technology of metalworking was introduced in Mesoamerica from further south, from the Isthmus of Central America (Panama and Costa Rica). One route of entry was by way of the Maya area into Central Mexico and adjacent regios; the second was the coats of West Mexico, spreading into the adjacent hinterland.

Some of the objects seem to have been direct imports from the Isthmus although many appear to be of local manufacture. The evidence seems to indicate that the technology, introduced in the area at the end of the Classic period (AD 600-800), was used to create objects that conformed to Maya aesthetic canons and world view.

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More information


W. Bray, 'Fine metal jewellery from Southern Mexico' in Homenaje a José Luis Lorenzo (México, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Col. Científica, Serie Prehistoria, 1989)

W. Bray, 'Central American influences on the development of Maya metallurgy' in Los investigadores de la cultu, no. 4 (Universidad Autonoma de Campeche / SEP, 1996)

S.G. Morley, G.W. Brainerd and R. J. Sharer, The ancient Maya, 5th ed. (Stanford University Press, 1994)

C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)


Height: 4.500 cm

Museum number

AOA 1920-118


Gift of C.B.O. Clarke


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