12 November 2004
A HUASTEC SHELL ORNAMENT
Late Classic, ca. A.D. 550-950
The concave segment from a large Fasciolaria or Strombus shell pectoral of uneven section, finely incised with a pair of confronted spider monkeys, each with one hand to mouth, deeply drilled eyes, once inlaid, finely striated hair and long upward curling tail, offset against a crosshatched background filled with red pigment and pierced for suspension.
Diameter 6 in. (10.5 cm.)
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The spider monkey's tail acts as a fifth limb with a hand-like portion at the tip.
An exceptional example of the most valuable illustrated book ever produced — and an icon of American art — will be offered on 14 June to benefit conservation causes
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