Home > Art > Izapan Double Alligator Pendant with Carved Holes
About the Object
Carved from green jade, this pendant demonstrates two stylized caiman or alligators that may have been associated with creation and death along with water and astronomy. Indeed, the Izapa may have originated the 290-day calendar often attributed to the Maya. This knowledge would have been vital to ensuring agricultural production throughout Mesoamerica.
The site of Izapa in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico, is considered to have unique features different from its contemporaries, especially its inclusion of humans engaged in ritual contests with animals: alligators/caiman, big cats such as jaguars, and what some scholars believe to be snake-like deities. Some scholars also argue that Izapan style reflects links with other cultures including the Olmec and Maya.
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