Pre-Columbian, North Coast Peru, Moche, Loma Negra ca. 100 to 300 CE. A fascinating, large, gilded copper crown of a square form when viewed from above or below, its outward-facing surface decorated with three bands of dangling gilded copper discs, each attached via a small strip curved into a loop, also made of gilded copper. It would have been sewn together around the head, with small perforations vertically along both sides of its opening at the back of the crown. This square style is associated with the royal burials at Loma Negra, located in Peru's upper Piura Valley. The site seems to have been quite unique amongst Moche cemeteries, as no ceramics have been found there. Size: 6" L x 7.25" W x 5.15" H (15.2 cm x 18.4 cm x 13.1 cm); 19.4" H (49.3 cm) on included custom stand.
This is a masterwork of Moche coppersmithing, which the Moche developed as a way to create objects that appeared as shiny and beautiful as gold but had more tensile strength than pure gold. Archaeological research in the 1980s of metal objects excavated from Loma Negra found that the Moche smiths invented the most sophisticated gilding methods ever known in the pre-Columbian Andes. After constructing forms like this crown from hammered sheet copper, they used mixtures of materials available on the desert coast to prepare the copper surface to bond together with the uniform, very thin gilt layer. In addition to the natural beauty of this crown, it represents an incredible ancient technological achievement.
See a similar example at the Museo Oro del Peru, Lima that was featured in the exhibition "Gold and the Incas Lost Worlds of Peru" at the National Gallery of Australia (https://nga.gov.au/exhibition/INCAS/Default.cfm?IRN=227510&MnuID=3&ViewID=2).
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; ex H. J. Westermann collection, Germany
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Repaired at corners, with repairs well done generally and difficult to see. Nice deposits on surface with much of the original gilding remaining.