Stone kneeling figure of Chalchiuhtlicue

Mexica*, AD 1325-1521

From Mexico

A water goddess

This stone sculpture represents Chalchiuhtlicue, the Mexica water goddess. Chalchiuhtlicue means ‘she of the jade skirt’ in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Mexica. She was associated with the spring water, rivers and lakes, and also with birth. According to an Mexica creation myth there were four suns (or worlds) before the present one. Chalchiuhtlicue presided over the fourth one, which was destroyed by floods and its people turned into fishes.

Female figurines, kneeling or standing, are a recurring theme in Mexica sculpture. Most of them have distinctive characteristics that identify them as fertility goddesses. They are always represented as young women and they wear a variety of headdresses. In some cases, like in this example, their hair is arranged in two large tassels on both sides of the head. Other fertility deities, such as the maize goddesses, wear a large rectangular headdress made of rigid bark paper and ornamented with rosettes. Here, Chalchiuhtlicue wears the traditional shawl (quechquemitl), also trimmed with tassels, over a long skirt. Her eyes were probably made of shell, like in many other Mexica sculptures.


Ahh, trees.

Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, is a collection of beautiful, stoic images that feel suspended in time. Though our distant ancestors left the shelter and safety of trees some 3.5 million years ago, Moon’s work points to our enduring affinity for—and exploitation of—really, really big trees.


Viking Thor’s Hammer Pendant, 10th Century AD

Silver pendant in the shape of a stylized hammer. The obverse side engraved with interlaced bands. The suspension ring in the shape of an eagle’s head. Rare evidence of the veneration of Norse gods from the early period of Christianization.


Greek Gold Necklace with Amber Pendants. c. 6th-4th Century BC

Throughout antiquity amber was very much appreciated. However, as a natural material, it is prone to decay and rarely survives. In ancient times, the main source of amber was the Baltic coast and from there various trade roads brought it to the Mediterranean. Mycenaeans imported amber beads from as early as the Geometric and Oriental periods. Greek craftsmen used amber, as did the Etruscans, until around 500 BC, when the supply stopped and the material also went out of fashion.