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Pendant Depicting a Seated Figure

A work made of spondylus shell.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of spondylus shell.


200 B.C./A.D. 200


Colima or Jalisco
Colima or Jalisco, Mexico

About this artwork

Figures and jewelry made of spondylus (spiny oyster) shell developed as a specialization in what are today the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco. Like greenstone, jade, and colorful feathers, this bright orange shell was a luxury item sought by maritime merchants from Ecuador and Central America, who found it in warm Pacific waters as far north as the West Mexican coast. As emblems of authority and status, exotic materials were displayed by rulers during ceremonial events. Spondylus-shell jewelry carved with symbolic designs found in West Mexican tombs indicates the high esteem in which this valued material was held.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136




Pendant Depicting a Seated Figure


Western Mexico


200 BCE–200 CE


Spondylus shell


Appro×. 11.4 × 7.6 cm (4 1/2 × 3 in.)

Credit Line

Maurice D. Galleher Endowment

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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