Mexican Highlands (Las Bocas?)
Ht.8.3 cm (3.25")
Iridescent clamshell mask-pendant incised with an enigmatic feline/water monster. The incisions hold red cinnabar, and six pale-green jade disks are inlaid in the serrated eye-brows. The slanting rectangular eyes, and the nostrils, are perforated. Two suspension holes are in the upper rim. The frontal drooping snout displays upper gums, splayed fangs, and central "water" dots.
This unusual image is best considered "Olmecoid", and probably post-dates La Venta. It relates stylistically most closely to the Post-Olmec jade maskette illustrated and dis-cussed in the Zollman Collection catalogue (Parsons, Carlson, and Joralemon, 1988, fig. 23). Olmec iconography gradually merged into Terminal Preclassic Izapan canons, and eventually became the basis for Maya imagery.