Gold pendant with a miniature portrait


British Museum

British Museum

This gold pendant, representing a Maya ruler, was allegedly found at Palenque by Frederick Waldeck, a French traveller and one of the first Europeans to visit the ancient city at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The technology of metalworking was introduced in Mesoamerica from further south, from the Isthmus of Central America (Panama and Costa Rica). One route of entry was by way of the Maya area into Central Mexico and adjacent regios; the second was the coats of West Mexico, spreading into the adjacent hinterland.

Some of the objects seem to have been direct imports from the Isthmus although many appear to be of local manufacture. The evidence seems to indicate that the technology, introduced in the area at the end of the Classic period (AD 600–800), was used to create objects that conformed to Maya aesthetic canons and world view.

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  • Title: Gold pendant with a miniature portrait
  • Date Created: 600/1521
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 4.50cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: Am1920,-.118
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Palenque
  • Period/culture: Late Classic Maya; Postclassic Maya
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Clarke, Charles B O. Collected by de Waldeck, F M


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