c. 300 BC-AD 200
Hammered and embossed gold-copper alloy
Overall: 6.8 x 4.2 cm (2 11/16 x 1 5/8 in.)
The Norweb Collection 1940.512
Tumbaga is an alloy made by blending gold with copper, which may give the gold a rosy hue.
This small metal ornament represents a human figure wearing a cap, a tunic decorated with bird images, and a necklace of orange-pink spondylus shell sections. Such necklaces are found in Paracas mummy bundles, and are frequently represented in Paracas embroidered images. Spondylus shell does not grow in the cold water off the coast of Peru, and had to be imported hundreds of miles from what is now Ecuador. Virtually all ancient Peruvian cultures treasured spondylus shell for its color and rarity, and as a symbol of fertility.
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