A Drawing of the Inscribed Text on the Olmec-style Jade Pectoral Pendant at the British Museum


David F. Mora-Marín
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill



This post presents a new drawing of the inscription present on a jade pectoral, Am1929,0712.1, housed at the British Museum (see References for link), seen in Figure 1. The drawing, which I prepared sometime prior to 2016, improves upon that I had previously rendered (Mora-Marín 2001:Fig. 35), due to the use of a higher-resolution photo.


Figure 1


The top glyph is clearly anthropomorphic: it shows a right-facing profile head, with a fringe of hair connecting the forehead to the nose, and a stripe or band connecting the eye to a circular element—perhaps an earflare. The bottom sign is reminiscent of T561, the SKY glyph (Proto-Ch’olan *chan, Proto-Mayan *kaʔŋ). It may constitute a nominal phrase. There may have been another glyphic passage on the other side of the pectoral, now broken off. I suspect the Mayan text dates to the early Late Preclassic (400 BCE-CE 200), perhaps not that long after its original crafting by an Olmec artist.




The British Museum. https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/E_Am1929-0712-1.

Mora-Marín, David F. 2001. Late Preclassic Inscription Documentation Project. http://www.famsi.org/reports/99049/index.html.