Art/ Collection/ Art Object


4th–10th century
H. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Alice K. Bache, 1977
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
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

Jones, Mark. The art of the medal. London, 1979, pp. 91–96.

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas/The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.

Jones, Julie, and Heidi King. "Gold of the Americas." The Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art vol. 59, no. 4 (Spring 2002), p. 30.

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