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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Colombia : Tairona Terracotta Vessel with a Lid Featuring a Seated Man
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Tairona Terracotta Vessel with a Lid Featuring a Seated Man - CK.0537
Origin: Colombia
Circa: 1200 AD to 1300 AD
Dimensions: 33.25" (84.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
At the time of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas, in the Sierra Nevada mountain chain of northern Colombia, a lively metallurgical tradition among the Chibcha-speaking Tairona. The Tairona culture began their process of consolidation as a social and political entity in the first centuries after Christ, reaching their apex of development after 1000 A.D. when dense populations were grouped together in many urban centers. Today, over two hundred Tairona sites are known, ranging from the coastal lowlands to the heights of the mountains. Settlements of varying sizes reflect a hierarchical political order; several large centers controlled numerous smaller ones, through a chiefly and priestly elite. Tairona goldwork reveals a complex iconography often combining both animal and human features. The Kogi people of the Sierra Nevadas, modern descendents of the Tairona, do not value gold, or other metal and gems for that matter, as indicators of wealth and personal prestige. For them, gold is a symbol of potential fertility belonging to all members of their society. The sun, the penultimate procreating force, transmits its power to gold, presumably endowing the metal with its yellowish hue. We can presume that the Tairona originally viewed gold much the same way, as ornaments charged with potent symbolism relating to the continuation of life. - (CK.0537)

 

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