Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
Important Panamanian chiefs were buried with embossed gold plaques, symbols of power and status. Gold plaques with depictions of mythical beings were also worn by leaders to enhance their power and connect them to the supernatural world. This plaque has eight small holes, probably used to attach the ornament to clothing. The human face has the snarling, fanged mouth of a feline, suggesting his transformation into a supernatural being.
4 x 4 in. (10.2 x 10.2 cm)
Museum Expedition 1931, Museum Collection Fund
Embossed gold plaque with human face and the snarling, fanged mouth of a feline. The plaque has eight small holes that were likely used to attach the ornament to clothing.
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