Home > Art > Olmec Face Panel or Pectoral (Breastplate)
About the Object
The unknown Olmec creator(s) of this work masterfully carved and polished this stone into the shape of a face-panel or pectoral (breastplate) from green jade. These objects were highly regulated and worn in later periods only by nobility and royal families, either in battles or in rituals. Here the artist fashioned fangs, and originally the face perhaps had more decoration in the eyes and nostrils. The extending flat panels display two rounded pegs, which edge out a little from the extending panels, demonstrating the great wealth and power this object signified.
This fangs of this work connect the piece to the Olmec “were-jaguar” human face that later became associated with the Mesoamerican maize god of fertility. Centuries later, the Maya highly prized these objects and often reused or created them in Olmec style; such objects were traded further north within Mexico and south across the isthmus that makes up Central America.
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