Pendant in the shape of a snail

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

Museo del Oro, Bogotá

Museo del Oro, Bogotá
Bogota, Colombia

According to researches made by specialists in Biology, this fine hanging ornament seems to represent a land snail of the Camaenidae family. These animals were commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical forests, where they lived on decomposing wood, high grass and bases of tree trunks. As is the case with most of the zoomorphic representations in Colombian pre-Hispanic goldwork, the importance of these snails was probably not related to the economic value but more to their physical features or their behaviour, and they were used as metaphors to represent situations related to the social organisation or to cosmology. The spiral shape of the shell could have been a captivating trait of these snails, a frequent decoration motive in goldwork and ceramics of the early period in the Mid Cauca. MAU


  • Title: Pendant in the shape of a snail
  • Creator: Mid-Cauca (Quimbaya) - Early Period
  • Date: -500/700
  • Physical Dimensions: w38 x h47 x d16 mm
  • Type: Goldwork
  • External Link: People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia
  • Technique: Lost wax casting with core, in tumbaga
  • Finding: Colombia, Antioquia, Jericó
  • Accession number: O00395

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