The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 23, 2024

Bird Pendant

Bird Pendant

Overall: 8.1 x 6.3 x 3.6 cm (3 3/16 x 2 1/2 x 1 7/16 in.)


Tairona-style pendants are among the most spectacular of all ancient American gold ornaments, in part because of the detail achieved with lost-wax casting. The traits of the figure pendant include a lower lip ornament and a headdress in which two bats hang upside down. Although called caciques (chieftains), that is, ruler portraits, the meaning of such figures is not well understood. Bird imagery was important in the isthmian region in ancient times and remains so today. For instance, among the modern Bribri of Costa Rica, the principal creator deity (Sibo) takes the form of a buzzard or kite who wears a collar. Collars are standard features of ancient bird pendants, like the one shown here.
  • Stechow, Wolfgang. "Cleveland's Golden Anniversary Acquisitions." Artnews 65, no. 5 (September 1966): 30-64. Reproduced: p. 34; Mentioned p. 64
  • Sacred Symbols: Three Thousand Years of Native American Art [FRAME]. Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France (July 16-September 29, 2002); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, Rouen, France (October 24, 2002-January 13, 2003); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, 69001 Lyon, France (February 19-April 29, 2003); Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, Rennes, France (May 27-August 18, 2003); Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN (organizer) (October 26, 2003-January 11, 2004).
    Montpellier, France: Musee Fabre: July 16- September 29, 2002. Rouen, France: Musee des Beaux Arts; October 24, 2002- January 13, 2003. Lyon, France: Musee des Beaux Arts; February 19- April 28, 2003. Rennes, France: Musee des Beaux Arts; May 27- August 18, 2003. Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Institute of Arts; October 26, 2003- January 11, 2004. FRAME exhibition- "Sacred Symbols: Three Thousand Years of Native American Art."
    Golden Anniversary of Acquisitions. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (September 10-October 16, 1966).
    Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art; September 10- October 16, 1966. "Golden Anniversary Acquisitions." Cat., no. 52, repr. p. 276.
  • {{cite web|title=Bird Pendant|url=false|author=|year=900–1550|access-date=23 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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