Chavín artist(s)

Not on view

Gold objects in the Chavín style are the earliest significant works in gold known from Peru. The style is associated with the north, particularly the Jequetepeque and Lambayeque valleys and adjacent highlands, where impressive gold objects have been found in burials of high-ranking individuals. Primarily personal ornaments of longstanding use in the area, they include adornments for the neck, chest, ears, and nose. This pectoral, of generalized cross shape, was probably attached to a backing through the paired holes in the center. It is made of hammered sheet gold and features repoussé profile bird heads in mirror image on the horizontal projections. When rotated ninety degrees, the profile heads, with their strongly curved beaks, become a single frontal image of a broad-nosed, jawless creature. Multiple readings of designs and the sharing of design components are characteristic of Chavín art. Fanged faces, referring to felines and snakes, and elements of raptors are commonly part of such complex compositions.

Pectoral, Chavín artist(s), Gold, Chavín

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.