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Rock Crystal Beads and Gold Pendants Necklace
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Rock Crystal Beads and Gold Pendants Necklace

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description For shamans in ancient Colombian communities, rock crystal was desirable due to itstranslucent quality, which under certain light, can flicker colorfully as if lit by a fire. The inherent reflective traits of the crystal symbolized a supernatural energy—a power that people believed could be harnessed if worn close to the body. This entrancing rock crystal necklace is as beautiful in its visual qualities as it is mysterious in its origin. The production of the gold figures—done by hammering out thin sheets of metal—signals the artist to be of the ancient Tolima people in Colombia. Gold work from the Tolima region is characterized by strong geometric forms combining stylized parts of humans and animals. The small figures here each have a triangular, bird-like tail indicating they may represent a deity or other supernatural being. This style is sometimes called "invasionist" because it shows stylistic influence of people who came to the region from the Amazon, across the Andes mountains.” However, the quality of rock crystal of the necklace's beads can only be found in a region far to the north of known Tolima sites. This unique combination of materials indicate that either the gold or the crystal was traded in order to make this important piece of symbolic jewelry.
  • Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
Provenance Ron Messick Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; purchased by John G. Bourne, between 1990 and 1999; given to Walters Art Museum, 2013.
Credit Gift of John G. Bourne, 2013

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AD 900-1600
gold, rock crystal
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
L of chain: 26 7/8 in. (68.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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