Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Narino culture, ca. 850 to 1500 CE. A huge gold disc featuring a human face with a bulge of coca in one cheek. The gold is 73% pure (equivalent to 15K+). The face has a large, round coiffure, ear ornaments, and a ring under the nose. The facial features are simple, and the figure has a heavy brow and pronounced chin. Encircling the head is a raised ring and then a flat border; the ring is pierced through at its top, presumably to make the disc wearable. The ingestion of coca is associated in ancient South American societies with a transformative state and this face, with its narrowed eyes, seems to suggest a trance. Size: 3.75" W (9.5 cm); 4.75" H (12.1 cm) on included custom stand.
Published in "Capturing The Sun, Master Craftsmen of Ancient Mesoamerica'", gallery exhibition, October 2017, no 27. Interestingly, it is previously from the collection of Jerrie Cobb (Geraldyn M. Cobb), one of the "Mercury 13", the women who trained to be the first astronauts but ultimately were denied the chance by the US government. Following that, Ms. Cobb, an accomplished and record-setting pilot, spent 30 years doing missionary work in South America, including pioneering air routes over the Andes Mountains and Amazon Rainforest.
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Jerrie Cobb Foundation - Geraldyn M. Cobb was one of the famous "Mercury 13".
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Very slight bending to form. Light patina on surface. Beautiful preservation of motifs.