TUMBAGA PENDANT OF EAGLE WITH HEADDRESS
Pendant depicting an eagle crowned with a headdress ornamented with spiral motifs. Made from an alloy of gold and copper called « tumbaga », the name given by the Spanish to this mixture used by the Mesoamericans. The complex procedure allowed them to obtain an alloy with a hardness superior to that of copper, but which nonetheless remained malleable, the degree of fusion being lower than that of each of its constituent metals. Excellent state of conservation.
The Tairona culture emerged in Colombia on the northern and north-eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada di Santa Marta and on the coastal plain of the Caribbean. It’s characterised by stone architecture, ornaments in polished stone, pottery with a cream-coloured background and some of the most beautiful tumbaga ware in South America. Tairona society was run by a Shaman elite who had control over the essential forces of nature, the organisation of the cosmos, and human actions. The ornaments with which they adorned themselves, featuring anthropomorphic faces, or those of mythical animals, had a symbolic function, recalling the shaman’s capacity to transform himself into a powerful being. La Sierra counts several shaft tombs with beautiful pieces of tumbaga ware. The Tairona resisted the Spanish until the end of the 17th century, but the illnesses brought by the Conquistadores decimated them. Today, their descendants, the Arhuacos and the Kogui, are refugees in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.