Mid-Cauca (Quimbaya) - Early Period-500/700

Museo del Oro, Bogotá

Museo del Oro, Bogotá
Bogota, Colombia

The helmets are maybe the only pre-Hispanic Colombian metallurgic objects keeping a close similarity regarding shape, but for sure not in the purpose, with the armour of the ancient western world. This semi-spherical helmet decorated with a simple geometric figure was manufactured by an experienced goldsmith in high purity gold with the hammering and embossing technique. The internal surface still bears the marks of a small hammer with a rounded finish used to complete the perfect curved shape. The softness and shine of the external surface, intending to magically reflect light, are the result of intense polishing.
The helmets of the Quimbaya goldwork during the first centuries of the Christian era in the Mid Cauca are scarce and unique pieces which have been found as part of some very few and exclusive burial trousseaus, like the one known as the “Quimbaya Treasure”, discovered in the XIX century in the mountains of the Quindío department, on the Colombian central mountain range. The human figures on the lime receptacles and the pendants of this goldwork practically always include one of these large helmets, in contrast with the nakedness and the small ornaments of their attire. Undoubtedly they were some of the most important objects to exhibit the status and representation of power in these societies. MAU


  • Title: Helmet
  • Creator: Mid-Cauca (Quimbaya) - Early Period
  • Creator Lifespan: -486/700
  • Creator Nationality: Colombia
  • Creator Death Place: Colombia
  • Creator Birth Place: Colombia
  • Date: -500/700
  • Physical Dimensions: w191 x h112 mm
  • Type: Goldwork
  • External Link: The Working of Metals room
  • Technique: Hammered and embossed gold
  • Finding: Colombia, Antioquia, Puerto Nare
  • Accession number: O32933

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