Plaque showing a standing lord, Xochicalco type

Central Plateau or Guerrero/Oaxaca region, Mexico

Terminal Late Classic period, CE 700-1000

Pale green, mottled greenstone (possibly jadeite) with cinnabar pigment

5 1/4″ in width x 4 3/4″ in height.

In very fine condition with original high polish and dendritic and calcified mineral deposits, overall

Provenance: Old private collection, TX, collected prior to 1970

This large, thin plaque is carved with a standing lord of somewhat Mayoid appearance. His arms are held up and out to his sides. He wears an elaborate headdress of baroque complexity showing two serpent profile heads facing in opposite directions. A beaded necklace and earflares indicate he is of high-status.

The plaque has been drilled bi-conically at each upper corner to be suspended as a pendant. The style of these plaque pendants perfectly illustrates that a Pan-Mesoamerican cultural trade network of ideas and goods flourished at this time period following the collapse of Teotihuacan. They have been found in many areas south and southwest of the Valley of Mexico, as well as into the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula and down into Guatemala.

See a similar example in the MNAH Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Antropología | Colecciones (

They have been incorrectly ascribed to the Mixtec, Zapotec and Maya, but were, rather, created independently of those autochthonous groups in a still as yet unknown location.

However, because Xochicalco was one of the first sites scientifically investigated to yield this type of plaque, the style has been dubbed  as ‘Xochicalco’ type.