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Art of the Ancient Americas
Artist: Unknown

Ear Ornament

A.D. 50–600

Carved and incised conch shell with cinnabar

2 × 1 5/8 in. (5.1 × 4.1 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. Allen Wardwell, B.A. 1957, Fund
A bearded skeletal monster encases a human face, which is little more than eyes, mouth, and a filed tooth, on this ear flare. The man’s breath escapes in a long scroll, as if to reassure us that he is indeed alive. Sutures mark the bones of the monster’s skull. This and 1998.91.1 form a pair to be used as ear flares or perhaps ornamentation for a headdress.
Made in Guatemala
On view*
Guatemala, El Petén, Maya
Early Classic Period

“Acquisitions 1991,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1992): 163, ill.

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 168–69, fig. 169.

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.