Perfect Pectoral

Selections from the Nasher Museum of Art
June 1, 2005

 


Perfect Pectoral
Necklace, A.D. 1000-1534

Necklace, A.D. 1000-1534, shell, probably sea clam, Ica culture, South Coast, Peru 
18 inches x 15 inches. 
Gift of Charles A. Dukes '29 and his wife, Aurelia A. Dukes

Shell was frequently used to fashion many types of body adornment by peoples throughout Peru. Here triangular and grooved sections of white shell are strung together to form a wide, collarlike neck piece. Similar large pectorals made of shell and metal beads are found in burial sites in the North, Central, and South Coast areas, and many of those include copper, gold, and silver artifacts. In this case, there are traces of oxidized copper encrusted on the shell, suggesting that this necklace also came from a burial site that included copper objects. The necklace will be on display when the museum reopens October 2.