Art: Green Priest

Since February archeologists had been delving into a 30-foot mound in the mountains of Guatemala. This week they announced their prize discovery: "The finest single piece of Mayan jade carving ever found."

It was an apple-green breastplate, about six inches wide, carved in the 9th Century. Cut into the jade was the figure of a priest, or ruler, presiding over a circle of deities (see cut). To make it, the Mayan artist had labored with wooden bow drills, and smoothed his work down with abrasive sand. Carnegie Institution diggers found the breastplate and an assortment of gold-leaf ornaments, copper bells "and...

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