A large Tairona gold figural pendant
Lot 25*
A large Tairona gold figural pendant
Sold for £534,650 (US$ 866,264) inc. premium

Lot Details
A large Tairona gold figural pendant
Circa A.D. 1000-1500
Of a standing alligator-headed deity, his legs bent and arms held to the side with sharp angled elbows, the hands grasping the scrolled ends of a ceremonial bar, the square head with prominent snout trimmed with a rope-work design, curling up at the flared nostrils, the ears formed from scrolls and ornamented with pendant crescentic earrings, the globular eyes set beneath arched brows, the body adorned with rope-work waistband, armbands and collar, wearing a highly ornate and sizeable headdress, with toucans perched on top front facing, each with uplifting curved beaks, a ribbed suspension loop at the tip, the wings furled at the sides and triple rows of openwork crests along the head formed from tightly coiled concentric rings, supported at the back by stylised avian’s heads as flanges, each with up-curled beak and beadwork crest, arching plumes of spiral feathers behind and a pair of suspension loops, 5¼in. (13.3cm.) high, mounted

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Ex American Private Collection, the provenance dating back to 1954

    Published:
    Sotheby's 1997, pp.34-35, lot 46

    Literature:
    This finely cast pendant is one of the largest of the mythical alligator deity cacique type. For a closely related figure in the Jan Mitchell collection, The Art of Precolumbian Gold 1985, fig.44, and Lothrop et al. 1959, col. pl.CXIX. For a human-headed figure in Dumbarton Oaks, see Deletaille and Deletaille 1968, fig.299. Tairona goldwork includes some of the most skilful lost-wax casting done by ancient metallurgists in the Pre-Columbian world. For commentary on the Tairona region see The Gold of Eldorado 1978, pp.45-46 and for a human-headed figure see pl.263.

Saleroom notices

  • The provenance dates back to 1954
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