Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Tairona culture, ca. 800 to 1200 CE. A delightfully whimsical gilt copper labret featuring a mythical creature with a serpent-like split tongue that folds back on itself and meets the sides of the head. The face of the creature has intricate filigree work, creating an eye, a curled snout, a crest made of tiny openwork circles, and a huge mouth full of leering teeth. A round boss with a cylindrical projection serves as a plug to fit into the lip but when not in use looks like the creature is wearing a top hat. Size: 1.4" W x 1" H (3.6 cm x 2.5 cm)
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private Poway, California, USA collection
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Dark patina on surface with small area of encrustation. Much of the gilt remains and the details of the piece are in good condition and very clear.