Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
In Costa Rica gold animal pendants were often worn by and buried with elite members of Chiriquí society. The eagle’s broad tail and outstretched wings may symbolize the animal’s ability to soar high into the sky and enter the supernatural realm. The spider’s legs end in human hands, which hold a double-headed snake. The abdomen, adorned with a bird and two crocodilian heads, is a bell that would have made a tinkling sound as the wearer moved. Depictions of predatory animals would have inspired awe and respect and provided the wearer with power and protection.
3 3/4 x 1 x 2 7/8 in. (9.5 x 2.5 x 7.3 cm) (show scale)
Alfred W. Jenkins Fund
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Ornament. Gold, 3 3/4 x 1 x 2 7/8 in. (9.5 x 2.5 x 7.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 35.232. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 35.232_bw.jpg)
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