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Pre-Columbian Society of New York Lecture Series: John W. Hoopes
Title: Jade, Gold, and the Iconography of Power in the Isthmo-Colombian Area

The Isthmo-Colombian Area, comprising territory occupied predominantly by Chibchan speakers in southern Central America and northern Colombia, was home to Pre-Columbian peoples whose societies, technologies, cosmologies, and iconographies were distinct from those of their neighbors in Mesoamerica, the Andes, Amazonia, and the Antilles. Their traditions included techniques of crafting jadeite, gold, and gold-copper alloys into elaborate ornaments representing social status, wealth, and power. Fine jewelry manufactured from exotic materials communicated esoteric knowledge about the natural and supernatural worlds. Indigenous conceptions of social order in Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia were reflected in jade and gold and can be understood through artwork in media such as stone sculpture and pottery as well as careful consideration of archaeological data. This presentation, emphasizing objects in the recently published Robert Wood Bliss collection at Dumbarton Oaks, will explain how elite craft items were made and used in this unique part of the Americas.

Oct 27, 2022 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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