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Ancient Colombian Gold Animalistic Face - 9.7 g

Pre-Columbian, Colombia, perhaps Tairona, ca. 1000 to 1500 CE. A quixotic gold visage presenting fantastical features - perhaps zoomorphic and/or mythical. The gold quality is quite high - 85% or equivalent to 20K+ gold. The attention to detail on this dramatic face is most impressive. Notice the rope-like borders lining those large circular eyes, that nose with its flaring nostrils, the open mouth with projecting fangs, as well as those jowls and the furrow on his forehead just beneath the pair of dangling disks suspended from gold wire rings. Size: .625" L x 1" W x 1" H (1.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm); weight: 9.7 grams

The Pre-Columbian Tairona, a group of chiefdoms in a mountainous part of Colombia, are renowned for their distinctive gold pieces. See, for example, the catalogue from the British Museum exhibit of "Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia" (2013). Although gold was not a form of currency in Pre-Columbian South America, it had great symbolic power, used by elites in life and in death to demonstrate their place in society.

Condition: Minor surface wear. A few intentional perforations around the periphery, perhaps intended for additional ornamentation. Otherwise excellent and the gold has developed a lovely warm patina.

Provenance: ex-private Indianapolis, Indiana, USA collection

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