This traditionally worked abalone ornament and the similarly shaped chipped porcelain pendant were excavated from Coast Miwok sites on the central California coast.
The porcelain is rare first-contact material from the cargo of the San Agustin, the oldest shipwreck managed by the National Park Service, which sank in Drakes Bay, California in 1595. The Spanish Manila galleon sailed from the Philippines loaded with silk, spices, porcelain, and other luxury goods. It was bound for Acapulco when it foundered in a storm. The ship was the second European vessel to make contact with Native Americans on the west coast of North America. The Coast Miwok salvaged materials such as metal, porcelain, and glass from the shipwreck and repurposed it for their own needs. This image demonstrates the deliberate choice of a pattern from a porcelain plate worked to resemble a shape often carved from shell.
Abalone Pendant Coast Miwok
ca 1350 BCE -1880 CE
Carved shell with serrated edges and drilled holes. L 2.9, W 1.3 cm
Southern Provincial China 1575-1595 CE, Ming Dynasty
Hand-painted cobalt blue on white porcelain. L 2.9, W 1.3 cm