DescriptionAztec Spondylus Shell with Xolotl Inlay Mosaic
C. 1200-1400 AD
Shell and Turquoise Stone
4" x 3½"
The intact bi-valve shell has been polished to a smooth back, drilled twice for suspension, and grooved to receive a panel of mosaic inlays in mother of pearl, turquoise, jade, and spondylus. The mosaic depicts a canine wearing large earspools, with arrows or lightning bolts emanating from its head. Depiction is of Xolotl, the canine deity who accompanies the dead during their last journey to Mictlan. The shell would have originated on the Atlantic coast and been a valuable trade commodity both due to the spines which had been used for centuries for blood letting rituals as well as its deep orange beauty. Depictions of such bi-valve shells are seen as pendants worn on the chest in nearly all Pre-Hispanic cultures. The shell is in excellent condition with the vegetable resin having released only two or three of the tiny pieces, strong patina, and exhibits ancient use as a ceremonial dish.
Condition report available upon request.
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