- Museum number
Tunjo made of gold by lost-wax casting. The figure wears a bonnet, big ear spools and a plate over his chest, and carries a shield with darts in a shoulder. It retains pouring channels filled with metal at the lower end that were not removed by the metalsmith, which indicates that the object was cast head downwards.
- Production date
Height: 5 centimetres
Width: 2.50 centimetres
Depth: 1 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Vila Llonch 2013
Tunjos, or votive offerings, were placed by Muisca people across their territory, under special landmarks such as rocks and trees, and in caves, rivers and lakes – places believed to be gateways to different worlds. Tunjos usually depict male and female figures, animals, as well as groups and scenes, all providing a window into Muisca life and rituals. Muisca artisans left the figures unpolished, and did not mend mistakes made in the casting process. These were not objects of beauty to be admired, but their imagery and the metal itself were important in communicating with the supernatural.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1996, London, Museum of Mankind (Room 1), 'Gilded Image'
2013 Oct 17 - 2014 Mar 23. BM, ‘Beyond El Dorado: Power and Gold in Ancient Colombia’
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Am1895C3.17 (old CDMS no.)