Finial with Long-Beaked Bird

Finial with Long-Beaked Bird


Gold, cast

Overall: 11.1 x 4.3 x 9.5 cm (4 3/8 x 1 11/16 x 3 3/4 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2015.4

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.

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