Art of the Ancient Americas
Artist: Unknown

Jade Bead and Jaguar Necklace

A.D. 600–850

Jade or greenstone

length with pendant: 33.02 cm (13 in.) other (clasp): 3.35 x 4.47 x 0.48 cm(1 5/16 x 1 3/4 x 3/16 in.) other (Head without lower jaw): 3.15 x 2.82 x 4.09 cm(1 1/4 x 1 1/8 x 1 5/8 in.) other (Lower jaw (.b)): 0.91 x 2.41 x 1.98 cm(3/8 x 15/16 x 3/4 in.)
Gift of Linda Smith Cohen and Joel H. Cohen in honor of Leila Lindley Smith Ionescu
2017.123.1a-b
Culture: 
Maya?
Period: 
Late Classic
Classification: 
Jewelry
Status: 
Not on view
Provenance: 

From the donor:
"These necklaces came into our family when my mother, an antiques dealer, purchased them in the early to mid 1970’s. My mother had a shop in Palm Beach, Florida during that time and did much of her buying along the East Coast as she drove to CT each spring. I do not recall exactly where she purchased them, but I clearly recall her arriving one day wearing one or both and proudly saying that they were “pre-Columbian.” She had them and wore them for a year or two, but was not able to confirm information on them from her dealer friends with whom she spoke. Yet she loved wearing them. One day my daughter, who was 2 -or 3 years old at the time, while sitting on her lap and playing with the jaguar, suddenly broke the jaw. My mother, very good-naturedly took off the necklace and said, “Well, here Carolyn, these are yours now. Maybe some day you will find out what they are.” Interestingly Carolyn recalls the incident, perhaps because the story has been repeated over the years, and when reminded of it recently, her eyes lit up and she said that she loved sitting on her grandmother’s lap and playing with the jaguar because she said that the open mouth was very smooth on the inside and was fun to play with. Now, however she is chagrined at the damage she caused when she was so young. Yet we are all in agreement with the above plans.

They remained in my jewelry drawer since about 1978. Now we know what they are and are wanting to see them preserved again for as long as possible.

We have had both necklaces appraised by Marianne Huber in January, 2017 and will provide you with a copy of that evaluation."

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions July 1, 2017–June 30, 2018,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/bulletin/Pub-Bull-acquisitions-2018.pdf (accessed December 1, 2018).

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.