Necklace Item Number: 3289/90 from the MOA: University of British Columbia


Necklace made of seeds threaded onto black string through their centres creating a stacked effect. The beads are dark red.

History Of Use

These seeds are endemic to the Lacandon rainforest and are known to its inhabitants as ‘ambar de la selva’, meaning jungle amber. This kind of jewellery is sold outside the Palenque archaeological site to tourists.


The Lacandon rainforest stretches through the Southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Yuacatan, as well as the northern part of Guatemala and is one of the most biodiverse regions of Central America. This jungle is home to communities of Maya speakers known as the Lacandon Maya, who support themselves through “agro-forestry”, a system built on sustainable crop rotation. The Lacandon forest contains over 1,500 tree species and is one of the last forested areas large enough to support jaguars, an animal sacred to the contemporary Lacandon, as well as to ancient Maya peoples. The Lacandones used to live near ancient Maya archaeological sites such as Bonampak and Yaxchilan. Many have now migrated to Palenque, which is more accessible to and popular among tourists. The Lacandon peoples are no longer permitted to use archaeological sites for ritual purposes. However, Lacandon ceremonies, centred around agricultural petitions, offerings and spiritual healing continue to take place in the forest, conducted by ritual specialists. The artist and her husband (now deceased) were originally from Naha, in the jungle, but have lived for some time in Palenque where they are able to make a living.