Olmec Jade Pectoral with a Human Effigy - PF.5588, Origin: Mexico, Circa: 900 BC to 600 BC, Dimensions: 2" (5.1cm) high, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Olmec, Medium: Jade. The many perforated holes along the edges attest to the fact that this pendant was probably worn as a pectoral for ceremonial functions. The snarling face carved into the center of this work is typically Olmec. Considered the mother culture of Mesoamerica, the Olmecs are one of the oldest and richest civilizations to inhabit the Americas. Remembered foremost today for their colossal heads of rulers or gods, their artistic and religious traditions were absorbed and adapted by the cultures that followed them. This pectoral depicts such a colossal head type in miniature. The undulating wings on either side might represent part of an elaborate costume. This figure also might be a mythological hybrid creature: half-bird, half-man. As great civilizations rise and fall, they leave behind traces of their power. The most sacred ritualistic objects continue to exert a force beyond time and the hands that once held them sacred. A mysterious energy still radiates from the core of this jade carving.