The most abstract Precolumbian works in gold come from the deep shaft tombs of the Capulí era in the Colombian/Ecuadorian highlands. The richest Capulí tombs, some as deep as 130 feet, contained many offerings of ceramics and precious metals. The gold objects display simple elegance and abstract natural forms. On this pendant, the suspension loop, located on most Precolumbian pendants where it cannot be seen, has been integrated into the overall composition and is visible at the top. Some scholars read the pendant as a bird with spread wings and tail, the suspension loop representing its head. The pendant was cut from hammered sheet; it has a well-polished surface. An ancient repair is present on the lower right projection of the ornament.
[Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, until 1974]; Alice K. Bache, New York, 1974–(d.) 1977
Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.