Gold ring with feline head in relief


British Museum

British Museum

The gold ring has a design of two snakes flanking a feline head in relief. Analysis by the Department of Scientific Research at The British Museum shows that it was made with an alloy of gold (about 74%) and silver (about 24%), with a small amount of copper probably occurred naturally in the gold deposits. It was cast by the lost-wax method. The technology of metalworking was introduced in Mesoamerica from further south, from the Isthmus of Central America (Panama and Costa Rica). One route of entry was by way of the Maya area into Central Mexico and adjacent regions. A second point of introduction was the coast of West Mexico and into the adjacent hinterland. The style used in metalwork throughout the south of Mexico, from the Mexica capital to the Maya frontier, has been called 'Mixtec', since it resembles that of the Mixteca-Puebla codices and pottery, and because the largest number of objects were found in the state of Oaxaca, where the Mixtec culture was centred. Since related items are found all over the south of Mexico, it would be more appropriate to refer to this style as the 'South Mexico International Style', as suggested by Warwick Bray.

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  • Title: Gold ring with feline head in relief
  • Date Created: 1200/1521
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 1.10cm; Diameter: 2.20cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cast
  • Subject: mammal
  • Registration number: Am1914,0328.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Mexico
  • Period/culture: Mixtec
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: gold alloy
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Thornton


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