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Currently shown

Celt

Location

MEXICO

Era

1500-400 B.C.E.

Culture

Olmec (?)

Title

Celt

Date

900-400 B.C.E.

Materials

Stone

Dimensions

13.7 x 4.8 x 3.4 cm

Credits

Gift of Leo Rosshandler in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary, inv. 2013.782

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Although commonly called “jade,” the greenstone of the Mesoamerican peoples was instead jadeite or other semi-precious stones like serpentine. It was prized for its beauty and rarity, as well as its colour – evocative of water, vegetation and fertility – since the time of the Olmecs. Moreover, among the Maya it continued to be the prestige material par excellence, even following the introduction of goldsmithery to the region. Jadeite and other greenstones were sometimes exported in their raw form, but most often after having been cut, if not shaped. Many celts like this have been found grouped in caches. Others have been collected and/or reworked by later peoples, or in other regions, notably Costa Rica.

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