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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Archive : Tairona Gold Pectoral of a Shaman
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Tairona Gold Pectoral of a Shaman - FJ.6205
Origin: Colombia
Circa: 600 AD to 1600 AD
Dimensions: 4.5" (11.4cm) high x 5.25" (13.3cm) wide
Catalogue: V23
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: 414 grams Trudy, withdrawn

Location: United States
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When seeing and holding something so magnificent as this gorgeous pectoral, we can easily understand why the Spanish explorers were so overwhelmed by the gold they found in Colombia. As modern observers and art aficionados we can also appreciate how the people who made these wonderful gold objects felt. For the Columbians, gold meant nothing until it was turned into a specific form with a ritualistic meaning. Then, according to their religious beliefs, it not only acquired value beyond its intrinsic worth, but assumed supernatural power. The sheer weight and beauty of this fabulous pendant is stupendous. The expertise needed to fashion such intricate work would daunt even the finest goldsmiths of today. What we are seeing is probably a shaman dressed in full regalia wearing a magnificent headdress crowned by dual eagle heads extending over the figure's brow. The spirals radiating from the center portion of the headdress are like sunbursts or fireworks exploding. They are so free spinning and glorious, each seems to be possessed of its own energy and force. The figure wears long dangling earrings, with a large square panel attached to his chin. A large noseplug is also inserted. He holds a thickly woven band which curls at the ends, just above his exposed penis. Some believe this cord had a sexual connotation. With his knees slightly bent, he appears about to leap into a dance or into the beyond. The entire pendant is covered in circular studs (including ones for the eyes) as ornamentation, which also has the effect of giving the entire piece a feeling of movement. The remarkable sense of pageantry and dance is brilliantly conveyed through the extraordinary skill of a master goldsmith and the dazzling gold itself.....trudy - (FJ.6205)


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