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Winged Figure

Arts of the Americas

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
MEDIUM Jadeite
DATES 800-500 B.C.E.
PERIOD Preclassic Period or Middle Formative
DIMENSIONS 1 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (4.4 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE Private Collection
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CAPTION Olmec. Winged Figure, 800-500 B.C.E. Jadeite, 1 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (4.4 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Private Collection, L65.7.2. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, L65.7.2_transpc003.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Jade carving of the upper torso and head of a small winged figure with the typical Olmec elongated, flattened head, drooping lips, and drilled ear lobes. The wings have been identified as those of a bat, a nocturnal animal associated with the darkness of the underworld. The wings also have scalloped edges and fine incised lines that recall the wings of a butterfly, a potent symbol of transformation. Four small drill holes along the edges of the wings may have been used to sew the figure to clothing or to a headress. The fact that this figurine was found in Costa Rica suggests that Olmec-style carvings were highly valued there, and indicate that extensive trading networks existed throughout Mesoamerica.
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