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Hartley Entire Collection

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200 BCE - 1500 CE
Unknown Artist (Mezcalan culture?)

The mixed shapes and colors of beads indicate a modern assemblage of ancient adornments of unknown provenance. The stones’ characteristics suggest they came from West Mexico, although these kinds of beads are found throughout Central Mexico.

Modern restringing of ancient Mesoamerican beads and adornments is a common practice. Looters and dealers frequently pool these small finds until a wearable string can be produced and sold to a collector. In addition, it has been common in Mexico for ancient adornments to be repurposed into modern jewelry forms, a practice made famous by artist Frida Kahlo and silversmith William Spratling in the 1950s and 1960s; yet the practice can be traced to the 16th Century.

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Provenance History
  • Owner Name: Marsden Hartley Estate

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