Pre-Columbian, South Coast Peru, Nazca, ca. 200 to 400 CE. An attractive pair of 12K gold and sterling silver earspools with silver plugs and gold roundels, each adorned with an endearing silver monkey eating a fruit. In the Pre-Columbian world, simian creatures fascinated humans for their whimsical antics. Moreover, the monkey's face, postures, and manual dexterity mirrored those of humankind, and the ancients believed that the monkey mediated between humankind and the supernatural. Size: 1.625" L x 1.75" W (4.1 cm x 4.4 cm); Total weight: 36.1 grams
These ear spools have undergone XRF (x-ray flourescence) testing and the gold tops contain 50% gold, 45% silver, and 5% copper making them 12K; the monkeys contain 95% silver and 5% copper; the plugs are also sterling silver, however the flat base end of one plug is made of copper and iron suggesting a very old repair given its oxidation.
Provenance: private Hawaii, USA collection; Ex Hirsch Collection, Germany
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Normal tarnish to silver monkeys. Tarnish and oxidation to the plugs. Old losses to one of the plugs as shown.