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Old Arts of the Northern Andes

DATES January 14, 1939 through February 13, 1939
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
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  • January 13, 1939: Newly imported archaeological art from Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will be placed on public view in the Brooklyn Museum today (Friday, January 10th). The exhibit consists for the most part of large portrait figures of clay and richly decorated funeral pottery, as well as amulets and tools of gold and bronze collected by Dr. Herbert J. Spinden during a six months survey of the northern Andes for this Institution.

    From Panama comes gilded jewelry in the Coclé style supplementing the Museum's original share in the exploration of Coclé by Harvard University. About thirty pieces, representing eagles, frogs and grotesque animals, have a fragile copper base for a thin coating of fine gold. These required the most modern technique of restoration before being ready for exhibition.

    The greater part of the exhibition will present Colombian ceramics. Included will be two nude figures seated on the lids of funeral urns from a newly discovered archaeological district in the central part of the Magdalena Valley, a selection of Chibcha figurines and painted dishes, and other pieces illustrating the famous culture of the Quimbaya Indians who lived in the Caunca Valley. Throughout the Colombian Andes large figures of men and women intended to be placed in the graves and perhaps having some portrait quality are distinguished by strength and simplicity. Other pottery shows interesting techniques including that of painting with wax and black and red pigments to give negative designs. This technique, peculiar to the New World, was known from Mexico to Peru.

    A series of bronze axes from Ecuador illustrate the transformation of those tools or weapons ending in an unusual specimen about a foot in width which may have been mounted as a broad axe on a pole.

    A few specimens of finely decorated pottery from Peru have been chosen for esthetic interest. These include a kneeling warrior of Chimu style in polished black ware, a large vessel from Aipe decorated with a stylized jaguar, another piece illustrating the best polychrome pottery of Pachacamac and a funeral vase from Nasca with a magical painting of dead men helping to make corn and bean grow.


    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 01-03/1939, 011. View Original