Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Muisca culture, ca. 1200 to 1538 CE. An incredibly preserved shamanic figure, its flat 14K gold body decorated with 14K gold wire. Tiny coils of wire create ears, eyes, and three ornaments that rise from the top of the head like a crown or headdress. The wires continue down the body, forming arms that hold two raised implements, one a simple staff made from two wires, the other a staff topped by a spiral of wire. The detail of the fingers is truly incredible. Three circles of wire create a necklace that lies flat on the figure's chest, partially obscured by the staffs he or she holds. The details taper off as the body narrows to a point below the waist, making the figure roughly triangular. Size: 0.55" W x 1.9" H (1.4 cm x 4.8 cm); 2.2 grams
This type of figure is known as a tunjo, meant as an offering to communicate with the gods. They are found deposited in Lake Guatavita and other important bodies of water in the region, buried in caches, as grave ornaments, and at the entrances to temples. The use of gold on this example indicates its value - most are made of copper or other less precious metals.
Provenance: private Millburn, New Jersey, USA collection
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Excellent condition, with light encrustation in lower profile areas. Wear commensurate with age on the lower part of the body.