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Art of the Ancient Americas
Artist: Unknown

Ear Ornament

A.D. 50–600

Carved and incised conch shell with cinnabar

4.8 cm (1 7/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Wardwell, B.A. 1957
A bearded skeletal monster encases a human face shown in profile. Little more than the eyes, mouth, and a filed tooth of this man can be seen, although his 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 object and 1991.45.1 form a pair, to be used as earflares or perhaps ornamentation for a headdress.
Made in Guatemala
On view
Guatemala, El Petén, Maya
Early Classic Period

Mimi Gardner Gates, “Director’s Report 1988,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1989): 121.

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