- Museum number
Warrior-ruler figurine with ritual regalia made of gold. Figurine had an embellished headband, ear ornaments, what may be a nose-piece and pendant plaques on its chest. It carries a circular shield and a serpent headed implement and wears a severed head with three bells attached hanging from its lip plug.
- Production date
- 900 - 1521
Height: 9 centimetres
Width: 4.60 centimetres
Depth: 3.30 centimetres
- Curator's comments
McEwan 1994, p.65
Mixtec metalsmiths fashioned gold into prestigious objects that signalled their owners' status in life and at death accompanied them as tomb offerings. Claims to hereditary nobility depended upon tracing ancestral lineage and proclaiming military prowess in dress and ornament. This ruler, richly adorned with headdress, necklace and earrings, bears a serpent staff and shield and displays a mask suspended from a lip plug.
The framing armature may be a ceremonial backdrop or possibly a framework on which the object was fabricated and displayed.
McEwan 2009, p.92
Gold pendant figurine. Mixtec, Mexico, 12-14th century AD
Claims to hereditary nobility were based on racing ancestral lineage and proclaiming military prowess through dress and ornament. Mixtec metalsmiths fashioned gold into prestigious objects that signalled their owners' status in life and at death accompanied them as tomb offerings. This image of a warrior-ruler was made by a process of low-wax casting, incorporating finely detailed false filigree work that defines the Mixtec gold style. Its small size makes the complexity of detail all the more remarkable.
The figure is richly adorned with an embellished headband, curved ear ornaments, a nose piece, and pendant plaques strung across his chest. On his left arm he bears a small circular shield, while with his right hand he grasps a serpent-headed sceptre or atlatl. From a lip plug hangs a severed head - perhaps a war trophy - beneath which three pendant bells are suspended. The whole assemblage was apparently worn as a chest or lip ornament. The framing armature may represent a formal backdrop used on ceremonial occasions or simply serve to facilitate the fabrication and durability of the object.
- On display (G27/dc4)
- Exhibition history
2002, London, Royal Academy, Aztecs
2003, Berlin, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Aztecs
2009-2010 24 Sep-24 Jan, London, BM, Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler
2012 28 March - 1 July, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Children of the Plumed Serpent
2012 29 July - 25 Nov, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Children of the Plumed Serpent
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Am1880C2.7834 (old CDMS no.)