SPECIAL ADVISORY: The Yale University Art Gallery is free and open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday. Masks and COVID-19 vaccination (including booster, if eligible) are required.Review our Visitor Policies

Art of the Ancient Americas
Artist: Unknown

Pendant in the Shape of a Ruler or Lord

A..D. 200–600


9.98 × 4.17 × 1.73 cm (3 15/16 × 1 5/8 × 11/16 in.)
Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, Fund
This pendant in the shape of a standing male figure probably once belonged to a Maya noble. The craggy nose and specific details of the headdress may indicate that the pendant was intended to be a portrait of a particular individual, possibly the owner himself. The beaded tassel at the top of the headdress is that of the Jester God and is a common attribute of kings and nobles. The use of jade, the most highly prized material among the Maya, is also suggestive of the high status of its owner. The artist has worked this piece of jade, which is intermixed with a number of other minerals, so that the face and headdress would occupy the clearest green vein of the stone.
or geography Mexico
On view
Guatemala or Mexico, Maya
Early Classic Period

Fred H. Olsen (1891–1986), and Florence Quittenton Olsen, Guilford, Conn.; gift in 1973 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


“Acquisitions, 1973,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 35, no. 1 (Summer 1974): 76, ill.

George A. Kubler, ed., Pre-Columbian Art of Mexico and Central America (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1986), 27, 121–22, no. 265, Color pl. 8, ill.

Linda Schele and Mary E. Miller, The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art (Fort Worth, Tex.: Kimbell Art Museum, 1986).

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 317, ill.

“New Acquisitions Issue,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 24, no. 1 (April 1958): 17, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.