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Superb Olmecoid Zapotec Jadeite Figural Amulet

Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico, Oaxaca, Zapotec culture, Monte Alban I, ca. 500 to 100 BCE. A beautiful and early figural carving from the Zapotec, hand-carved from mottled pistachio-hued jadeite with dark inclusions and light veining. The seated figure has its legs tightly retracted to its abdomen and arms curled against its chest, and a biconical suspension hole is laterally drilled through the neck. The skillfully-executed visage exhibits hallmark Olmecoid influences like heavy-lidded eyes beneath curved brows, a pinched nose, and thin parallel lips, all beneath an incised curved striation delineating the brow from the simple coiffure. A stunning example of early Zapotec artistry replete with intricate features and expert artistry! Custom lucite display stand included. Size: 1.125" W x 2.5" H (2.9 cm x 6.4 cm); 2.9" H (7.4 cm) on included custom stand.

Monte Alban, a city inhabited for over a thousand years before abandonment centuries before the arrival of the Spanish, was a regional power that dominated much of the modern day state of Oaxaca and interacted with other city states in Mesoamerica, like Teotihuacan to its north and La Venta to its East. Many cultures at this time were producing figural carvings like this example, but those from Monte Alban in particular were often more anthropomorphized than those of other cultures. Their relative proximity to La Venta, the last major city of the Olmec which fell around 400 BCE, suggests that the two cultures had established trade routes and commerce which, over time, would influence the overall artistic styles of each.

Condition: Very minor chips to verso and peripheries, otherwise intact and near-choice. Light earthen deposits within drilled suspension hole.

Provenance: ex-old private Florida, USA collection, acquired in the 1960s; collected in Oaxaca, Mexico by W. Bryne in the early 1960s

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