Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Curly-Tailed Animal Pendant

A.D. 100–500
Chiriquí (?), Initial Style
H. 1 1/4 × W. 2 3/4 × D. 1 1/2 in. (3.2 × 7 × 3.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift and Bequest of Alice K. Bache, 1966, 1977
Accession Number:
Not on view
Curly-tailed animals appear on pendants in groups of two, four, or six, though single animals are more common. The number symbolism and the meaning of these often indistinguishable creatures are not known but may relate to cosmological concepts and mythology. Suspension holes are invariably through the front feet, so the animals face upward when worn. (A Costa Rican stone figure in this gallery wears such a pendant.) Initial-style objects represent the earliest Isthmian works in gold.
[Allan Caplan, New York, until 1964]; Alice K. Bache, New York, 1964–1977 (partial gift from 1966)

Jones, Julie, and Heidi King. "Gold of the Americas." The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art vol. 59, no. 4 (Spring 2002), p. 40.

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