Finial with Long-Beaked Bird

You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

Birds, particularly water birds, may have been thought to travel between the different layers of the universe.


Unique to Colombia's Sinú region are gold finials with sculptural images at right angles to thimble-like caps; the caps fit over the end of a staff, an emblem of rank that may have been held horizontally. This impressive finial features a dignified, long-beaked bird whose body contains a pellet that rattles when the finial moves. Sinú animal imagery is understudied but may relate to beliefs about the cosmos. For instance, contemporary natives attribute importance to birds because they have the capacity to move among different environments (air, land, water); they may have been regarded as mediators among levels of the cosmos.
Finial with Long-Beaked Bird

Finial with Long-Beaked Bird


Isthmian Region (Colombia), Sinú (Zenú), 5th century-11th century


The Lost-Wax Casting Process

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.