ca. A.D. 1450
Obsidian, gold, and turquoise
h. 2.5 cm., w. 5.0 cm., d. 2.8 cm. (1 x 1 15/16 x 1 1/8 in.)
Place made: Mexico / / Central Mexico
Gallery note: Labrets were objects formed of precious stone and metal that were inserted through a hole pierced in the flesh of the lower lip. The wide flange at the base was intended to secure the ornament between the lip and the bottom teeth while the end projected out from the face. Obsidian was favored among the Aztecs and Eastern Nahuas who controlled most of its volcanic sources. This particular example was enhanced by the application of an embossed gold foil disk set with three pieces of turquoise. Labrets, nose ornaments, and earrings of many kinds could convey sophisticated messages about social status and ethnicity in ancient Mexican society. Rituals dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, patron god of the Eastern Nahuas, for example, required aspiring nobles to journey to Cholula to meet with two high priests called the Tlachiach and the Aquiach. After several days of prayer and penitence, the ears, nose, and lips of the initiate were pierced with sharpened eagle and jaguar bones, and ornaments were inserted according to the custom of the kingdom from which the petitioner came. In this way the noble was declared a tecuhtli or lineage head, and was thereby granted, through Quetzalcoatl’s divine authority, the rulership of a royal estate or teccalli.
i would stretch my facehole bigger just to wear this