Gold labret in form of a curassow
ca. A.D. 1450
h. 5.9 cm., w. 3.6 cm., d. 2.3 cm. (2 5/16 x 1 7/16 x 7/8 in.)
Place made: Mexico / Oaxaca / Central Mexico
Gallery note: In Mesoamerica the labret, or lip-plug, was a piece of jewelry worn only by noble males in Central Mexico. Inserted through a pierced hole in the lower lip, a labret qualified the wearer’s speech and breath as precious. The Aztec term for king, tlatoani, literally means “speaker,” attesting to the value of refined, poetic rhetoric. As with most Aztec jewelry, these pieces were actually fabricated by artisans from allied groups to the east, including the Eastern Nahuas, Mixtecs, and Zapotecs. This labret depicts the head of a bird, a common jewelry theme. Many examples can be identified as eagles, parrots, or quetzals, while others appear to be composite creatures. This work combines the crest of a quail with the large beak of a vulture or toucan. As recorded in the sixteenth century by the Franciscan missionary Friar Bernadino de Sahagún, gold objects like this labret were formed by shaping the details in wax over a rough clay and charcoal core. A clay and charcoal mold was then fashioned over the wax form, and molten gold was poured into the space between the mold and the wax. The wax melted and the core was broken with a small pick, leaving a hollow metal form.
The mother of all labret porn.