Fine and Large Costa Rican Gold Pendant of a Seated Ruler, Highlands/Atlantic Watershed, ca. A.D. 800 - 1500
height 3 1/2in (9.2cm); (95.2gm)
Private Collection, Florida, acquired prior to 1970
According to Emmerich (1965: p xix), 'The Indians of ancient America responded to the shimmering beauty of gold and silver just as men have all over the globe since time immemorial. Unlike the ancients of the Old World, however, the Indians of the many different cultures that flourished in pre-Columbian America never coined gold and silver or used the metals as a primary medium of exchange...The sense of monetary value that we experience in relation to gold and silver never arose to interfere with the appreciation the Indians felt for these marvelous materials. Precious metals were utilized for their beauty and as impervious and lasting substances out of which objects could be fashioned for adornment as well as for practical purposes...
That such splendid metals must have had divine origin seemed evident to many of the Indians.'
'After briefly landing on the Caribbean coast of Veraguas in 1502, Columbus continued to sail in a northwesterly direction skirting the coast of Central America. Because of the wealth of gold ornaments worn by the natives encountered by Columbus, he called the region west of Veraguas "Costa Rica," the rich coast, a name that has persisted to this day. In fact, the section produced little or no gold itself, and most of the metal had to be imported. It appears to have been brought over ancient trade routes that radiated from this area to the gold-producing regions to the south and east and to the weathy, powerful Maya and Mexican realms to the northwest.' (Ibid., p 113)