Pre-Columbian, Colombia, Quimbaya, ca. 4th to 7th century CE. A beautiful gold roundel, skillfully modeled in repousse from hammered gold sheet (93% gold), depicting three monkeys and a large fish amidst four round bosses with a beaded border surrounding the composition. Monkeys have always fascinated humankind, with their zany antics that seem to mirror and, at times, parody humans. Understanding simian creatures as mimics of human culture, most ancients of the Americas regarded the monkey as a mediary between man and the supernatural. The fish on this piece is symbolic of the watery underworld, but it also may represent an offering to the sea deities in exchange for protection against drowning. A wonderful example from this culture which inhabited the hills and valleys of the middle Cauca River during the centuries prior to Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Precious metal composition: 93% gold and 6% silver. Size: 5.125" in diameter (13 cm); 5.625" H (14.3 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s
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