14371. Tolima Gold Winged Deity Pendant
Colombia Circa 1000 to 1400 AD
A large symmetrical geometric minimalist form with flattened appendages; extended bird wings, curled tail and right angle shaped antennae or crest. A large example worn by the high status shaman class which the iconography suggests.
Compare similar example in Goldwork and Shamanism by Reichel-Dolmatoff
20 karat gold; intact; Size: 7-3/4 in H. x 4-1/8 in W. Weight 193 Grams
Pre-Colombian people were concerned with social status, and the function of adornments was to indicate wealth and position in society. Rulers wore gold crowns and were buried in gold masks. Priests used gold utensils and dressed in clothing laced with gold. The elite class adorned themselves in gold and silver ornamentation that could be seen at a distance, displaying their status through opulence, asserting their divine authority to make the transformation to the next world when their time came.
The technical mastery involved to produce such sophisticated gold artifacts is marvelous and worthy of deep investigation. In fact, the ancient Pre-Colombian master craftsmen were as skilled at lost wax casting, hammering, repoussé work, depletion gilding and incising as any of the other cultures in Europe at the time. The timelessness, beauty and ingenuity of these objects is as evident and relevant today as it was in ancient times.
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