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Details about  Pre-Columbian Art Tairona Tumbaga (Gold & Copper) Bird Pendant 800 - 1400 A.D

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Pre-Columbian Art Tairona Tumbaga (Gold & Copper) Bird Pendant 800 - 1400 A.D

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eBay item number:
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Last updated on  Apr 03, 2013 14:33:34 PDT  View all revisions
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Tairona Gold Tumbaga Bird Pendant Ca. 800-1400 A.D.

: For your consideration here is an intricately cast tumbaga pendant depicting a bird perched on a tiny branch, having a large head and pointed beak, outwardly curved wings and a fan type crescent tail. Two tiny suspension loops on the back of his head. Intact.

Height
1-1/8”  or 2.8 cm

Fine Pre-columbian gem from The Tairona, who lived at present day Colombia

Provenance: Ex
Private NYC collection, ex Cano gallery, Ex Arte Primitivo. 
Piece will come with certificate of authenticity from Arte Primitivo


Part of the proceeds will go toward charity.   Payment is due within 3 business days.  Item will ship within 3 business days.

More about the Tairona:

The north western part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was inhabited by groups of goldsmiths, artisans and builders during the Nahuange and Tairona periods. Nahuange goldwork was named after the bay of the same name, where a tomb was excavated in 1922. Typically it features hammered nose rings and breastplates in copper and gold alloys. People in the Nahuange period lived from fishing and agriculture in villages near the sea, from 200 A.D. onwards.

In the Tairona period, between 900 A.D. and 1600 A.D., the mountains were also settled and cities linked together by paths were built on stone foundations. The chronicler Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo wrote in 1514 that the Indians of Santa Marta "had gold jewelry, feathered crests and blankets with many pictures, and on these many cornelian stones, emeralds, jaspers and others". In addition to serving as ornaments, masks were used to transform people into bat-men, the most emblematic motif of the Tairona period. A bird in flight was a symbol of power that was shared with other Chibcha-speaking groups.

Gold work from the Tolima region of Columbia is characterized by strong geometric forms combining stylized parts of humans and animals. This figure has a triangular, bird-like tail indicating it may represent a deity or other supernatural being. This style is sometimes called "invasionist" because it shows stylistic influence of people who came to the region from the Amazon, across the Andes Mountains.


More about Tumbaga:

Composition and properties

Tumbaga is an alloy composed mostly of gold and copper. It has a significantly lower melting point than gold or copper alone. It is harder than copper, but maintains malleability after being pounded.

Tumbaga can be treated with a simple acid, like citric acid, to dissolve copper off the surface. What remains is a shiny layer of nearly pure gold on top of a harder, more durable copper-gold alloy sheet. This process is referred to as depletion gilding.

Tumbaga was widely used by the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America to make religious objects. Like most gold alloys, tumbaga was versatile and could be cast, drawn, hammered, gilded, soldered, welded, plated, hardened, annealed, polished, engraved, embossed, and inlaid.

The proportion of gold to copper in artifacts varies widely; items have been found with as much as 97% gold while others instead contain 97% copper. Some tumbaga has also been found to be composed of metals besides gold and copper, up to 18% of the total mass of the tumbaga.

Tumbaga objects were often made using the lost wax technique and the alloy used was a mixture of copper (80%), silver (15%), and gold (5%). The indicated concentrations varied from object to object. Once the object was taken out of the cast, it was burned and as a consequence, copper from the surface of the object was oxidized to copper oxide and was then removed mechanically. The object was then placed in an oxidizing solution containing, it is believed, sodium chloride (salt), and ferric sulfate. This process removed through oxidation the silver from the surface of the object leaving only gold. When looking through a microscope, one may clearly see the empty spots from where the original elements copper and silver were removed.




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