INTRODUCTIONHeather Lemonedes Interim Co-Chief Curator
Isthmian Region (Colombia), Sinú (Zenú), 5th century-11th century
Gold, cast, Overall: 11.4 x 7.2 x 6 cm (4 1/2 x 2 13/16 x 2 3/8 in.). Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2015.3
This gold finial fit over the end of a staff, an emblem of rank. The bird has the hooked beak of a raptor—perhaps the harpy eagle, the “king” of tropical forests. The enormous crest, however, may be inspired by the Royal Flycatcher, a smaller bird that fans its unique, brilliantly colored crest during mating.
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