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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Archive : Pre-Columbian Art / Gold Pectoral of a Shaman in an Avian Costume
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Pre-Columbian Art / Gold Pectoral of a Shaman in an Avian Costume - FJ.6215
Origin: Cauca, Colombia
Circa: 1150 AD to 1600 AD
Dimensions: 7.25" (18.4cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: Sold....257 grams Trudy

Location: Great Britain
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The goldsmiths of Cauca specialized in making breastplates representing birds with human features. This amazingly beautiful pectoral shows a figure about to take flight, or indeed already flying. His wings are crescent shaped, cleverly corrugated at the bottom to give the impression of tips of feathers. They swirl upwards nearly touching the ends of the headdress. The figure seems almost to be seated on something attached to a wonderful fan of feathers, stretching out like those of a proud peacock. This design harmonizes with the middle wing expanse. The headdress with its vertical extensions serves as a stuctural counterpoint with the lower portion. This contrast of semi-circles in each of the three sections creates perfect balance, uniting the entire object into one flowing motion, as if we can actually feel the wind blowing through the gasps between the feathers. The figure has a hawk-like nose, which may be a mask. His eyes shoot from their sockets in wide-eyed amazement. He wears huge earpools in a spiral style, barely touching the inside of the headdress, which is composed of triangles grouped in twos and threes, interconnected in a delicate pattern. The most intriguing aspect is the strap which wraps around his chest, coming from under his arms, joined at the waist, then pulled between his legs. This is very much like a harness that a modern parachutist would wear. Is it possible this figure is a shaman, who, during a public ceremony donned feathers and attempted to fly? The pure power and force of this pectoral exudes more light than the gold; it shines with own inner radiance, glorious as one would feel soaring over the rain forest towards the sun....trudy - (FJ.6215)


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