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Mayan Carved Jade Ear Spool

Pre-Columbian, Maya Territories, ca. 200 to 900 CE. This is a jadeite ear spool / plug with a flat design divided into four quadrants, with a bead-shaped piece of jade in the center. Most ear spools we see are of a simpler shape; this one is a fairly rare design. Only the most elite personages in Maya society were able to wear ear spools made of jadeite. The Maya believed that ears were the conduits for spiritual energy, and so ear ornaments like this one took on significant meaning. Some scholars have argued that the stretching of earlobes -- done progressively through spool sizes to limit tearing and pain -- may have been a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood for the Maya and, later, the Aztec; ear spools may also have been thought of as an extension of the ear. Size: 0.9" W (2.3 cm)

Condition: Expected wear, but intact.

Provenance: private W. S. collection, Los Angeles, California, USA

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