Shaman effigy pendant

Unknown900 - 1600

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston, MA, United States

These two cast gold alloy sculptures depict a standing male figure with hands on hips and grasping a double-spiral ritual object in each hand. The figures wear fantastical headdresses and animal masks (a jaguar mask in the larger example). Birds and saurian heads emerge from behind their heads. These animal appendages suggest the figures may be representations of shamans or impersonators of supernatural beings. They are known as ‘cacique' pendants because it was believed they depicted chiefs or ‘caciques,' a now-common word in Spanish for ‘chief' which was adopted in the sixteenth century from Arawak, a language of the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean islands, northern Colombia and Venezuela.


  • Title: Shaman effigy pendant
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 900 - 1600
  • Physical Dimensions: w125 x h160 x d20 mm
  • Type: Jewelry / Adornment-Pendants
  • Rights: Gift of Landon T. Clay. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.
  • External Link: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/shaman-effigy-pendant-5301
  • Medium: Gold alloy
  • City, state, country: Magdalena Department, Colombia

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