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votive figure / tunjo

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    Am1922,1116.1

  • Description

    Tunjo made of gold by lost-wax casting. It depicts a man with a hat and a necklace, holding a staff with a bird at its upper end.

  • Ethnic name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 600-1600
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 7 centimetres
    • Width: 3 centimetres
    • Depth: 0.2 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.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Vila Llonch 2013 p.60 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    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 name

  • Acquisition date

    1922

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number

    Am1922,1116.1


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Object reference number: ESA12730

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