Arts of the Americas
This elaborate, multi-strand necklace of beads carved from turquoise, Spondylus shells, and clamshells was likely a luxury item worn by elite members of Chimú society. The administrative capital city of Chan Chan was also a center of trade and craft production. Spondylus shells came from warmer Pacific waters farther north, but we do not know the source for the turquoise used by ancient Andean artisans. Perhaps it was traded from distant mines in what are now Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina.
Spondylous and clam shell beads, turquoise beads, cotton.
Late Intermediate or Late Horizon
Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
This item is not on view
Chimú. Neckpiece, Fragment, 1000-1532. Spondylous and clam shell beads, turquoise beads, cotton., 7 7/8 x 7 1/2in. (20 x 19cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.224.181. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.224.181.jpg)
overall, 86.224.181.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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The Chimú neck ornament is made from Spondylous shell, clam shell, and turquoise beads. Because of the rarity of the materials, it was likely worn by a person of high social rank in Chimú society.