Jan Mitchell and Sons Collection, Gift of Jan Mitchell, 1991
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
By the time the powerful Chimú kings had established their desert kingdom on Peru's north coast in the fourteenth century, precious-metal production in that region had reached unprecedented levels. Objects made for the elite had become ostentatious displays of wealth and technical virtuosity, as this pair of ear ornaments illustrates. Of thin, hammered sheet gold, they are remarkably light in spite of their size. They are decorated on the frontals with complex multifigured scenes. A distinguished Chimú lord, wearing a large headdress and ear ornaments, and holding a beaker and a fan, is shown standing on a litter supported by two men. Their huge, flared headdresses, decorated with cut-out and repoussé designs, echo the rhythm of the small spheres encircling the rims of the frontals. The shafts are embellished with a delicate chased repeat of crested birds in a diamond grid.
Jay C. Leff, Uniontown, PA, until 1975; (Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, October 10–11, 1975, no. 280); Jan Mitchell, New York, acquired by 1985, until 1991
Jones, Julie. "The Jan Mitchell Collection." In The Art of Precolumbian Gold. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985, 78, 236-237.