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October 16, 2018

Serpent Labret with Articulated Tongue


Aztec. Gold. 1300–1521 CE. Mexico.

2.62"H x 1.75"W x 2.62"D.

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which wrote:


Look out — this labret, or lip ornament, is in the shape of a serpent ready to strike!

The Aztecs created this labret around 500 to 700 years ago.

They believed serpents were powerful supernatural creatures that helped rulers and heroes.

One of the most important Aztec gods is even named the Feathered Serpent.


Aztec rulers wore labrets to symbolize their ability to speak with care and precision.

They were worn inserted through a pierced opening in the lower lip.

The labret was held in place by the flange — the flat, extended tabs on either side of the circular base.

The flange was laid against the inside of the mouth.


As you can see, this labret can move!

The serpent's tongue can swing from side to side and move in and out.

Royals and nobles wore labrets to show their power.

They wore gold labrets for very special occasions like battles and ceremonies.

October 16, 2018 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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