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Huaxtec shell pendant

Huaxtec shell pendant in the British Museum

Shell pendant (Huaxtec, 900-1450 CE), 16 cms high, British Museum.

The scene inscribed into the surface of this pendant depicts an individual who is being sacrificed by decapitation. A stream of blood pours down into the upturned open jaws of the squatting earth deity. Blood sacrifice was offered to nourish the earth and to assist the growth of crops necessary to sustain human life. The pregnant was fashioned from a section of conch shell and worn suspended from the neck.

From Ancient Mexico in the British Museum by Colin McEwan, British Museum Press, 1994, p. 35.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.