Earring cover in the form of a bird

Pacific Coast (Tumaco) - Inguapí Period-700/350

Museo del Oro, Bogotá

Museo del Oro, Bogotá
Bogota, Colombia

The careful and delicate work of the goldsmiths in the Tumaco region is represented in this ornament for the ears, one of their best pieces. In the centre the head of a condor embossed in a fine gold sheet is projected forwards and concludes in a prominent beak made of platinum. The neck of an adult male condor is usually encircled by a white feather collar, which seems to have been suggested in this ornament through a set of protuberances and a circle of embossed dots. On the four sides of the ornament, the bird is surrounded by eight snake heads also embossed on the same plate. Both the condor and the snakes have normally been a source of inspiration in pre-Hispanic societies and in current American Indian communities they are essential elements of their mythology. The contrast of the highest flying bird in the American continent and the snake may be representing opposite and complementary ideas between the sky and the earth, like the notorious use of gold and platinum for their contrasting colours. JSS


  • Title: Earring cover in the form of a bird
  • Creator: Pacific Coast (Tumaco) - Inguapí Period
  • Date: -700/350
  • Physical Dimensions: w50 x h84 mm
  • Type: Goldwork
  • External Link: The Working of Metals room
  • Technique: Hammered and embossed gold and sintered platinum and gold
  • Finding: Colombia, Valle del Cauca, Cisneros
  • Accession number: O29253

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