Fine costa Rican Jade axe god with alligator head
Guanacaste-Nicoya region, circa A.D. 1-500
Of celt form depicting the mythical part human, part avian figure. With circular eyes peering from the bird mask, the long beak with ridged caruncle resting on the chest, hands with incised fingers, and with a bird perched as headdress above. Also includes a rare alligator or crocodile head in the form of a beak. Made of green translucent jade, pierced through the neck for suspension. Symbolic of wealth and status; these treasures were worn as necklaces and pendants.
Measures: Height 7.15 inches (17.2 cm)
Width .75 inch (1.8 cm)
Depth 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Jadeite was the most precious of all materials in the eyes of the Pre-Columbian people of Costa Rica. Jadeite and greenstone were worked into a wide variety of items from tools and utensils to items worn as emblems of social and political power. Jade objects were a sign of wealth and prestige. A common form was The Axe god pendant, which was suspended from a cord around the neck. The name “axe god” comes from the form of the pendant, which replicates the shape of the traditional stone chopping tool (or axe). While most are anthropomorphic, some represent animals or supernatural beings. There is evidence that the avian form related to land ownership or land management in COSTA Rican Mayan culture.