PECTORAL REPRESENTING AN EAGLE
CHIRIQUI – VERAGUAS – Panama – Costa Rica
1000 – 1500 A.D.
- Height : 10.3 cm
- Width : 11.9 cm
- Depth : 5.3 cm
- Weight : 252 g
Gold, technique of lost wax casting and hammering.
Pectoral representing an eagle with prominent eyes in bells-shaped. The paws are folded, the claws are closed and wings are deployed. He holds in his beak a small double head animal. The top of the beak is decorated with a twisted ring. The head is surmounted by a headband adorned with three heads of birds. It is glorified of two bands decorated with openwork spirals ending in a snake’s head and connecting the wings together. Pre-Columbian people considered in their traditions the existence of a “double” or an “alter ego” animal, called the Nahual, and relied on it to accomplish their shaman transport.
Pre-Columbian people believed that since eagle is the bird that flies the highest and consequently the nearest from the sun, it became a symbol of spiritual elevation. Eagle was also considered like an intermediary between earth and sky, then like a messenger between the mankind and spirit. To stress this celestial and solar link, the head of the eagle is topped by a crown which could be associated to the sun, symbol of death and rebirth. The heads of the snakes refer to another animal tinged with a strong symbolism.
This pendant has been made with both techniques of lost wax casting for head, headdress and paws whereas the rest of the body was made by hammering on a thick gold leaf. The stylisation and the purity of this object represent an eagle symbolizing a divine animal. There is a suspending ring behind the head.