Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

The Pre-Columbian Gold Museum is a museum in San José, Costa Rica. It is located in a building underneath the Plaza de la cultura and is managed by the Banco Central de Costa Rica. The museum has a collection of over 1600 artifacts. The Central Bank began collecting the country's gold patrimony in 1950.
The Costa Rican metallurgical tradition was imported from Colombia, and its hallmarks include a casting method involving wax and the use of gold-copper alloys to make the metal more malleable. The earliest pieces are small and realistic; some are trade goods from Colombia.

In southern Costa Rica, the discovery of gold deposits meant that artisans could afford to be more profligate, and the artifacts became bigger and bolder.
In Peru and other countries, gold was used to fashion armor and musical instruments. But in Costa Rica gold objects were less utilitarian and more often symbols of prestige and rank. Warriors projected fierceness and social standing with pectorals, headdresses, armbands and nose pins.

Shamans, considered conduits between the natural and supernatural worlds, were represented by finely worked pendants that combined human and animal features, often in the form of masks.
In Costa Rica the first metal objects appeared around 400-500 AD. The manufacture of metal objects reached its maximum development after the year 700 AD and lasted until contact with the Spanish.

The majority of the metal objects that have been recovered in Costa Rica come from the southern Pacific area. This is due to the existence of natural gold and copper deposits in the region.