This extraordinary embossed disk is typical of Diquís goldwork. The small hole in the disc suggests that it was either sewn into fabric or hung around the neck. In the Diquís area of Costa Rica 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 his enemies. These pectoral discs, therefore, were worn as symbols of high status and prestige, reserved for the most elite of the Diquís 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 Central American region 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.
The Diquís culture arose in the territory of what is now Costa Rica, along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea and in the inland mountains and valleys. The word diquís means "Great Waters" or "Great River" in the Boruca language, and the delta of the great Diquís River is a major feature of the region’s geography. Because of their proximity to the water aquatic animals appear frequently in Diquís art. A unified Native American culture appears to have flourished in this area of Central America from approximately 1200 BC until the 16th century. Artifacts from this region include gold objects and other metals, carved bone, shell and whale ivory, textiles, jewelry with semi-precious stones and pottery.
Circa 700-1500 AD
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