Crown

CULTURE:
Quimbaya
DATE:
400–700 CE
more object details

General Description

Among the societies of Central America, gold ornaments were important symbols of power and prestige that expressed authority and status in life and in death. The pre-Hispanic goldwork of Colombia is traditionally classified by archaeological zones, or regions, each with stylistic associations, varying in iconography and technology: Calima, Quimbaya, Tolima, and Nariño in the southwest; Zenú (Sinú) and Tairona in northwestern Colombia; and Muisca in the central highlands southeast of Bogotá. The Quimbaya style was first identified in 1890, when an elite burial of six individuals with 122 gold objects was found near the village of Filandia in the middle Cauca Valley. All these gold objects are now housed in the Museo de América in Madrid, known as the Treasure of the Quimbayas.

The richly varied works of this region were primarily objects of personal adornment. Headdress elements, pectorals, bracelets, anklets, and nose and ear ornaments probably functioned as ceremonial regalia for elite men. Decorated with a series of delicate dots that form the outline of fish, insects, and human faces, the image on this gold crown is flattened and bilaterally symmetrical for maximum decorative effect. The two small sets of holes at the back suggest it may have originally been tied to a neckband or garment. When worn with other gold ornaments, as many pieces undoubtedly were, they would have created a dazzling golden image.

Adapted from

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Ceremonial mask (1976.W.321)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 33.

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Headdress ornament with heads flanked by crested crocodiles (1976.W.319)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 34.

  • Carol Robbins, "Ceremonial mask (1976.W.321)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Suzanne Kotz (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 178.

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Pendant with two frogs (1976.W.292), Pendant bell depicting a turtle (1976.W.301), Pendant depicting a batlike mask (1976.W.237)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 35.

  • "Lime Container (Poporo) (1991.419.22)." In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1991.419.22/. (August 2009).

Fun Facts

  • This crown was featured in the World of Ancient Gold exhibit at the New York's World's Fair, Travel and Transportation Pavilion (April 22-October 18, 1964).