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Exhibitions/ Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

At The Met Fifth Avenue
February 28–May 28, 2018

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From gleaming gold jewelry to the lavish exhibition catalogue, shop a range of products inspired by dazzling works of the ancient Americas.

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Exhibition Overview


This landmark exhibition of luxury arts of the Incas, the Aztecs, and their predecessors traces the emergence and florescence of goldworking in the ancient Americas, from its earliest appearance in the Andes to its later developments farther north in Central America and Mexico. In the ancient Americas, metalworking developed in the context of ritual and regalia, rather than for tools, weapons, or currency. Golden Kingdoms reveals the distinctive ways ancient Americans used not only metals, but also jade, shell, and feathers—materials often considered more valuable than gold. Bringing together newly discovered archaeological finds and masterpieces from major museums in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, this exhibition casts new light on these ancient civilizations and their place within world history.

Golden Kingdoms focuses on specific places and times—crucibles of innovation, moments of exceptional achievement in the arts—to explore how materials were selected and transformed, imbued with meaning, and deployed in the most important rituals of their time. This unprecedented exhibition features more than three hundred works from fifty-two lenders in twelve countries.


Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide.

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"Don't expect to see a more beautiful show than [this] anytime soon. . . . a fresh, transformative take on pre-Columbian art." —Washington Post

". . . an unabashed celebration of splendor." —New York Times

"Jaw-dropping" —New Yorker

"A delirious, glittering exhibition . . ." —Financial Times

". . . eye-popping exhibition" —Simon Schama, "Gold & Delicious" (Financial Times)

". . . luminous, brilliantly interpreted" —@CultureGrrl

The exhibition is made possible in part by
David Yurman logo

Additional support is provided by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Alice Cary Brown and W.L. Lyons Brown, the Estate of Brooke Astor, the Lacovara Family Endowment Fund, William R. Rhodes, and The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation.

The exhibition is co-organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects

Now at The Met Blog Series

Photo of a Peruvian gold nose ornament from the sixth century AD

Read in-depth articles that explore the research and scholarship behind this landmark exhibition in a Now at The Met blog series written by co-curator Joanne Pillsbury and other members of The Met's curatorial team.

Banner image: Pendant (detail), 1 B.C.–A.D. 700. Tolima, Colombia. Gold, 12 5/8 x 6 3/8 in. (32 x 16.2 cm). Museo de Oro, Banco de la República, Bogotá (O06061). Blog series image: Nose ornament, A.D. 525–550. Peru. Moche. Gold, H. 1 15/16 in. (5 cm). Museo de Sitio de Chan Chan, Huanchaco, Peru. Ministerio de Cultura del Perú