Sun God Pendant

This pendant is from Guatemala and is part of the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collections. The pendant is under two inches tall, but monumental in its presence and complex in its significance. This beautiful example of Maya lapidary work depicts K’inich Ajaw, the Maya sun god. Carved of jadeite, a material considered most valuable by Pre-Columbian peoples, and depicting a deity from the complex Maya pantheon, the pendant was most likely part of a necklace—perhaps the central element in a string of jade beads—or worn hanging from a belt. Maya men and women wore jewelry made from a variety of materials, but pieces carved from jadeite were especially favored by priests and royalty for the prestige and for the life-affirming symbolism associated with the material.