A Chieftain of the Yotoco period in the Calima region, in the South-western part of Colombia, was buried with this gold ornament, his nose ring. When his tomb was found, they also discovered his earrings, his chest plate, some tweezers, other hanging pliers and two small figures: a masked man and another one depicting the chief with this nose ring, his chest plate and his large earrings.
The nose ornament is very special. The nose on it is very human and a simple ring decorated with a stone hangs from it. His eyes in green stone give him a penetrating look; his spotted skin and ears indicate a jaguar, the golden coloured American feline with night sight. The two lower extensions are the front legs and on both sides we can see, in accordance with the American Indian perspective showing the two sides simultaneously, the back legs doubled as the ravenous feline is preparing to jump at us.
Suspended from the nose, this extraordinary piece would cover the mouth and the lower part of the chief’s face, transforming him into a jaguar and investing him with its powers. EL