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Pre-Columbian Coclé Gold & Stone Bead Necklace

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Pre-Columbian Coclé Gold & Stone Bead Necklace

- Item No.

According to Spanish chronicles we know that up to 60 pounds of gold jewelry was worn at one time

Key Features

  • This stunning gold and bead necklace is an example of Pre-Columbian skill and artistry
  • During battle it was customary for important men to adorn their bodies with gold
  • A necklace such as this one would have been worn as a symbol of high status
  • The Spaniards were in awe of the gold they encountered and wrote detailed accounts about it
  • Both in life and death gold was used to adorn the body to indicate prestige and rank
  • Circa, 700-1500 AD
  • Length: 16 3/4

Item Details

  • Stone:
    Other
This stunning gold and bead necklace is an example of the skill and artistry of Pre-Columbian Gold artisans. In the Gran Coclé area of Panama numerous artifacts have been found that relate to the lives of the people that lived in this region from 700 - 1500 AD. Spanish chronicles from this period relate how it was the custom that chiefs and important men wore gold jewels on their chests, head, or arms during battle. The gold would immediately differentiate the chief to both his men and to their enemies. This exquisite necklace would have almost certaily been worn as a symbol of high status and prestige, reserved for the most elite of the Gran Coclé region. Gold objects, being more portable than ceramics and having obvious associations with power and wealth circulated more widely than pottery. Scholars know that cast gold was manufactured in the Veraguas and Coclé regions of Panama but do not know for certain where the major gold-working centers were located. Cast gold ornaments such as this one are found on ancient trade routes that span from Costa Rica to Columbia.

 A complete list of objects found in the Gran Coclé region reads like an elegant catalogue from Tiffany's or Cartier's. Every conceivable sort of object has been fashioned for every protrusion of the human body. The Spaniards were filled with such a desire for gold that we have detailed accounts of the gold adornments that the people of this region wore. Not a single spot on the body was left undecorated. Breastplates, pendants, rings for fingers and toes, cuffs for arms and ankles, and belts and mirrors all have been found in this area. According to Spanish chronicles we know that up to 60 pounds of jewelry was worn at one time. Both in life and in death collections of gold were used to decorate the ancient body in an important form of social display.

Circa, 700-1500 AD

Length: 16 3/4"

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