An Olmec Greenstone Celt, Early Formative Period, ca. 1150 to 550 BCE.

Object No: PX2002

$1,950 USD
The meticulous flaking, and careful smoothing to a soft, lustrous sheen defines this beautiful celt. Carved from very dark green stone, this is a highly-stylized ritual hand tool for ceremonial and funerary purposes. Impressive in its technique, iconography, and inherent beauty, this celt exemplifies the artistry and arduous methodology of the ancient stoneworkers.

The Olmecs used long-distance trade routes to acquire greenstone, such as this example from Eastern Guatemala, over three hundred miles from their homeland suggesting greenstone celts had immense value in society. Scholars believe the Olmecs associated green stones with staples such as water, vegetation, and young corn. Research suggests greenstone celts, such as this example, represented ears of corn and were used as a form of currency by the Olmec. Based on burial practices, particularly objects from important burials at La Venta in Tabasco, Mexico, it appears greenstone celts were reserved for high nobility, royalty, and the gods.

cf: Karl A. Taube, Olmec Art at Dumbarton Oaks, 1996, p. 17-19

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition.

Dimensions: Height: 5 7/8 inches (15 cm)

Provenance: Old upstate New York estate collection.


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