Emerald-set gold rosary. 17th century.
courtesy of The Bowers Museum
courtesy of the Bowers Museum
Sacred Gold: Pre-Hispanic Art of Colombia
March 31-July 1, 2012
This rich exhibit traces the legacy of gold in pre-Hispanic Colombia in over 200 exceptional objects, supplemented by text, map, chronology, and photographs that put in context the pieces that make up this extraordinary collection from the renowned Museo del Oro and the Banco de Republica, Bogotá, Colombia.
Goldsmithing in Colombia is believed to date from about 800 B.C. and is the source for some of its greatest artwork. For the pre-Hispanic cultures of present-day Colombia, gold held no monetary value; it was a gift from the Sun and held a deep symbolic meaning. Gold’s physical and chemical properties inspired the creation of expertly crafted figures of spirits, animals and humans that communicated this culture’s understanding and philosophy of the universe and all that existed within it. Gold is impervious to virtually all corrosives and the pristine examples, used by both ordinary and extraordinary members of the community, include; nose rings, earrings, breastplates, and pendants as well as complex showy objects including body adornments and votive figures, all symbols of rank and power. The objects within this exhibition reinforce the importance of archaeology’s role in reconstructing the past in order to provide valuable information for the living.
For nearly 2000 years prior to the Spanish conquest, Indians in South America were creating gold pieces and developing skills and techniques whose sophistication equaled or surpassed those of their contemporaries in Europe. The Spaniards were so impressed with the gold work of these Indians they conquered in the 16th century, that one of the world’s most enduring myths developed as a result--- the imaginary land of El Dorado.
Your quest for El Dorado need only be as far as the Bowers Museum.
For more information please visit: The Bowers Museum