Atlantic Watershed Jade Pendant of a Toad - PF.3163
Origin: Eastern Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 4" (10.2cm) high x 3.125" (7.9cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Atlantic Watershed
Medium: Jade


An ancient and talented lapidary artist most probably was commissioned by a shaman or shaman-chieftain to create this mystical pendant of a toad. The toad is an amphibian of the genus Bufo and plays an important and early role in the religious symbolism of Ancient Meso-America. The species, which is skillfully depicted here, the Bufo marinus, is a giant toad that produces a powerful hallucinogen known as bufotenine through glands at the back of the head. This toad is of special importance and has been depicted as early as the Formative Olmec Period (ca. 1500BC - 900BC). There appears to be a history of drug-induced states during ritual in Meso-America. The ancient Costa Ricans are of no exception to this hypothesis. During ecstatic trances by taking this powerful hallucinogen, bufotenine, the shaman or shaman-chieftain interacts directly with the supernatural world. This ritual was religiously and politically very important and was most probably watched by everyone in the community. This hallucinogen from the Bufo marinus is so strong that it may last several days. Truly a remarkable and psychedelic phenomenon for the ritually drug-induced shaman and the observers, as well, this pendant not only represents the highly religious and political importance of its owner, it symbolizes the owner's communion with the gods. - (PF.3163)



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