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The website poporo is a device used by indigenous peoples in the present and in pre-Columbian South America for storage of small amounts of lime made from burnt and crushed seashells. It consists of two parts: a receptacle and a lid which includes a pin that is used to transport lime to the mouth while chewing Coca leaves. Since the chewing of Coca is sacred for the indigenous people, the poporos are also attributed mystical powers and social status.
In Colombia, the poporos are found in archeological remains from the Chibcha, representatives, and Quimbaya cultures among others. The materials used in the early periods, mainly pottery and stone carvings. In classic periods gold and tumbaga are the most frequent: an example of this is the website poporo Quimbaya exhibited in the gold Museum, which is a national symbol. Currently, the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta still use poporos made with the dried fruits of a plant of the genus Cucurbita, totumo, in the traditional way.
1. The Website Poporo Quimbaya. (Сайт Сайту Poporo Кимбайе)
One particularly famous poporo website, the website poporo Quimbaya, is a pre-Columbian artpiece of the classic Quimbaya period, currently exhibited in the gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia. Its primary use was as a ceremonial device for chewing Coca leaves during religious ceremonies. This was done around 300 CE with the lost wax casting process.
It is believed that artpiece was stolen from the burial chamber in the early 1930-ies, on Loma del Pajarito "bird hill" near Anori in the Antioquia Department, where, at that time, the looting of graves of the indigenous tombs was very common, often ending in the destruction of important archaeological pieces in order to extract the gold.
In 1939, the Banco de La república Central Bank of Colombia, was acquired by the site poporo Quimbaya, in order to preserve it from destruction. This is the beginning of a large project on preservation of pre-Columbian spool, which led to the creation of the Museum of gold in Bogota.
On the website poporo Quimbaya is an unusual piece made of tumbaga, with a strangely minimalist design that gives it a modern look. This is one of the most famous pre-Columbian artpieces, often used as a symbol of indigenous peoples of pre-Columbian culture. He was depicted in the Colombian currency, coins and dollar bills.
- culture s the most emblematic piece comes from this period, a form of poporo known as the Poporo Quimbaya, on exhibit at the Bogota Gold Museum. The most frequent
- Voiced by: Hajime Koseki Japanese Rick Peeples English Chief Poporo Chief Poporo became section chief supervising the Lovely Angels after Garner s
- Mustikkapopero also known as popero, poporo poppi or pollohillo is a traditional Finnish dish. It is made by mixing crushed blueberries andfinely milled
- Ngāti Pōporo and Ngāti Whatuiāpiti. Mangaroa Marae and Hikawera II meeting house is a meeting place of the Ngāti Kahungunu hapū of Ngāti Pōporo and Ngāti
- previous Torneko games. In the game, Torneko and his wife Nene and son Poporo journey to a distant island for a vacation. While there, mysterious forces
- define their culture. For example, all Kogi men receive a poporo when they come of age. The poporo is a small, hollow gourd that is filled with lima
- Santander. The Guane people chewed coca combined with calcitic grains, using poporos The Guane inhabited the area of central and south Santander, around the
- the world, with 10 of all described species. Photo: Yellow - eared parrot Poporo Quimbaya is the symbol of the pre - Columbian culture National Symbols of
- other amerindian tribes. Some of the most important pieces are the gold Poporos traditional gadgets for the chewing of the coca leaves and the zoomorphic
- or travel items. They also used a fourth one called masi, to hold their poporo The women carry the tutu gawa made of agave. The tutu chakeai and jina
- special device called poporo It represents the womb and the stick is a phallic symbol. The movements of the stick in the poporo symbolize the sexual act
- Muisca made pectoral pieces, nose rings narigueras earrings, plates, poporos and other figures from the gold they traded with the surrounding indigenous
- model for his class. He describes his own art as explosive Poporo Mk - II ポポロMk - II, Poporo Māku - Tsū Voiced by: Yoshino Nanjō A bomb disposal robot which
- their balacas ornaments and other items for ceremonial use, such as the poporos bowl with lid Like some other ancient cultures, the Pijao practiced
- Kapu te Poporo God Atua Matariri and goddess Taporo produced thistle. - Salmon Atua - matariri ki ai ki roto ki a te Poro, ka pu te poporo God - of - the - angry - look
- Production: From EAST Digital Animation Independence Sunwoo Entertainment Poporo Media FunnyFlux Film Fabrik International Marketing: Youn - Joo Kim
- of the most valued artifacts of Pre - Columbian goldwork is the so - called Poporo Quimbaya, a small 23.5 11.4 cm hollow, devotional object used to mambeo
- cal to increase the efficiency of the substance. The cal was saved in poporos often made of gold or tumbaga. A variety of deities have been described
- is recognized by their goldsmith, which, among other things, produced poporos bottles for storing lime used in chewing of coca leaves of gold. The
- File Festival Brazil, 2004 The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship, England. Poporo Animation Story by Lina Dorado 1st Award, Inter - American Biennial of Video
- god statue from Copan, Honduras, 600 - 800 AD Room 24 - Gold Lime Flasks poporos Quimbaya Culture, Colombia, 600 - 1100 AD Room 27 - Lintel 25 from Yaxchilan
- Ngāti Kahungunu is a Māori iwi tribe located along the eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The iwi is traditionally centred in the Hawke s
- of Storytelling Gumship. January 9, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2013. Poporo Mk. 2 Anime - Planet. Retrieved 2019 - 08 - 05. The Last Crusade My Little
- Poporo Quimbaya and pestle. Phytomorphic fruit - shaped lime container, gold, 300 BC - 1000 AD
- Year Date Event 600 Classic Quimbaya civilization. Poporo Quimbaya Tierradentro culture
- Nukanoa Ngāti Kahungunu Ngāti Pōporo Ngāti Whatuiāpiti Bridge Pa Mangaroa Marae Hikawera II Ngāti Kahungunu Ngāti Pōporo Ngāti Rahunga Bridge Pa Matahiwi
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Among the objects made of gold, the most popular was the poporo, a ritualistic container used to store lime derived from conch shells and used for the chewing. About Us korongatamarae. Lime Container Poporo, c. 1000 1500 A.D. Quimbaya people Colombia Gold 2 1 2 x 1 in. 2006.1.1.1.2 Gift of Greg and Mechas Grinnell in. Poporo Products Teespring. Detailed information for Poporo. Pictures, maps, detailed information, related articles, and nearby sightseeing spots and restaurants are available for viewing.
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PRE-COLUMBIAN CULTURES OF COLOMBIA
San Agustín Culture: The San Agustín Archaeological Park (San Agustín, Huila Department, Colombia) contains the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in Latin America and is considered the world’s largest necropolis. The dates of the statues are uncertain, but they are believed to have been carved between 50–400 A.D. Top Left: A tomb platform with supporting statues. Top Right: Carved face with jaguar fangs. Bottom Left: A standing figure with jaguar features. Bottom Right: Fish pendant, ca. 0-900 AD in the Gold Museum (Bogotá, Colombia).
The archaeological complex of San Agustín is located in the Upper Magdalena region in the Department of Huila and is divided in two provinces by the Guacacallo river. It was an eminent ceremonial center and an important burial site for the tribal hierarchies however, there was a sedentary population that lived from agriculture, hunting and fishing.
The religious sentiment conditioned their artistic expression, embodied in exceptional stone works. The Augustinian statuary -which expressed their beliefs and faith- was conceived in function of the funerary constructions. This art strongly adhered to strict symbological canons, and freely expressed the artistic treatment of forms, making each of the sculptures different from one another, individual, despite their superficial homogeneous appearance. These sculptures had vertical and horizontal structuring, frontality, symmetry -as a consequence of their religious function- and they conformed to linear norms. Their themes included: gods, priests and shamans, warriors and great dignitaries, images of deceased -carved on the sarcophagus capstones-, symbolic animals, poles and pilasters. The most commonly used motifs were serpents and stylizations of birds. During the “Regional Classic” period stands out the monumental statuary with feline jaws and hierarchical insignia that should have been made in gold. In architecture, their essential work was the funerary temple.
Tierradentro Culture: The archaeological park of Tierradentro (Inza, Department of Cauca, Colombia) holds the largest concentration of pre-Columbian monumental shaft tombs with side chambers (hypogea) which were carved in the volcanic tuff below hilltops and mountain ridges. The structures, some measuring up to 12 m wide and 7 m deep, were made from 600 to 900 AD, and served as collective secondary burial for elite groups. Top Left: View of a hypogea, these have an entry oriented towards the west, a spiral staircase and a main chamber, usually 5 to 8 meters below the surface, with several lesser chambers around, each one containing a corpse. The walls were painted with geometric, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic patterns in red, black and white. Top Right: Tierradentro funerary urns used to contain skeletal remains, ca. 700 to 900 A.D (Archaeological Musseum of Tierradentro). Bottom Left: Zoomorphic alcarraza (Archaeological Museum of Tierradentro). Bottom Right: Alcarraza-whistle from Tierradentro (Gold Museum, Bogotá).
The artistic manifestations of the Tierradentro culture (Department of Cauca, southwest Colombia) demonstrate their relationship with the San Agustín Culture and with the Andean area in general their artistic production was related to funeral practices being characteristic of this culture the construction of hypogea*. These underground enclosures were decorated with paint applied on the rock wall by sculpting it or by a combination of both methods. They used colors of mineral origin, black, red and yellow, alone or combined, adjusting the decoration to the shapes of the site and to the hypogeum type as an indispensable complement.
The Tierradentro hypogeums were built in groups and were intended for secondary burials. The most important ones discovered up to this day are located around the depression of the San Andrés Creek being of diverse types: without niches, with niches -in the walls or at the bottom of the room- and loose columns arranged in ellipse or placed in the center forming a straight line. The Tierradentro culture had a very well developed conception of an extraterrestrial or after life building the funerary precincts following the model of their actual housing.
In ceramics they produced works of the highest quality and beauty, whose best exponents were linked to religious and funerary cults. In addition to the funerary urns, they were masters in the handcraft of alcarrazas*. A very common decorative technique of their own were dots filled with white paste.
Tumaco Culture. Top: Examples of Tumaco pottery. Bottom: Five roller seals from the Tumaco Culture, ca. 500 BC – 500 AD.
It was located in southwest Colombia (Department of Nariño) bordering Ecuador. Its art was of documentary character: it expressed with remarkable realism their housing, garments, ornaments, diseases, customs and popular beliefs without excluding the natural and mythical fauna. It was characterized by their pottery work which was especially sculptural in design with great designs and complex technique. In their trademark pottery pieces, they represented the theme of the characterization of the human head: the Tumaco ceramist captured all the expressions of the human condition and all the individual characters. By using themes involving masks they combined heterogeneous decorative elements, mainly animalistic, and showed a remarkable mastery of techniques. The complete human figures constituted an exemplary art by their sculptural values demonstrating at the same time their preference for the male figure. The erotic art was totally objective and varied being linked with the cult of fertility and fecundity. Abstract art was embodied in seals with beautiful designs.
Calima Culture. Top Left: Gold pectoral (Gold Museum, Bogotá). Top Center: Funerary mask, 5th-1st century BC. (Gold Museum). Top Right: Sea snail in gold leaf , 200 BC-1300 AD (Gold Museum). Bottom Left: Calima pottery, at the left a Ilama woman, to the right a Basket-maker, both ca. 1700-80 BC. (Archaeological Museum of Cali, Colombia). Bottom Right: Gold necklace, ca. 1500 BC. (Gold Museum, Cali).
The Calima Valley (Department of Valle del Cauca, western Colombia) is one of the main natural ways of communication of the Pacific Coast with the Cauca Valley, a fact that promoted the flourishing of a high culture characterized by its goldsmith. The Calima gold industry followed the same guidelines for handcrafting gold known in other indigenous cultures, but acquired true specialization in its manufacture being able to conceive definite and special styles. On their socioeconomic scale, there was a guild of goldsmiths they worked the silver gold with copper and other metal impurities producing the “tumbaga” -a gold and copper alloy that facilitated the work of the artisan- and they were masters of the blinking, hammering, rolling and coating of objects with gold leaf. It is a characteristic of the Calima goldsmithing the joining of pieces by means of gold threads and wires. The themes represented were mostly religious, whose artistic expression was strong and vigorous emphasizing geometry. They produced objects of personal adornment -their necklaces were their finest jewels -, masks for ritual purposes, musical instruments -snails, rattles, trumpets-, and domestic artifacts.
Pottery reached high levels of creativity, highlighted by the “basket-maker”- full-body portrait figurines that were also commonly use during the active commercial trade that should have existed in those times.
Quimbaya Culture. Top Left: Zoomorphic alcarraza. Top Center: Mother and child, Quimbaya ceramic. Top Right: Lime containers or Poporos, part of the “Quimbaya Treasure”, a collection of gold and tumbaga alloy artifacts found at two Quimbaya tombs, one of the largest and most important indigenous treasure troves to be found anywhere in the world (Museum of the Americas, Madrid). Bottom Left: The famous Poporo Quimbaya (Gold Museum, Bogotá), its primary use was as a ceremonial device for chewing of coca leaves during religious ceremonies, ca. 300 AD and made in tumbaga alloy using the lost-wax casting process. It is a national symbol of Colombia and as such has been depicted in the Colombian currency, in coins and bills. Bottom Right: Anthropomorphic poporo, ca. 500 BC – 700 AD (Gold Museum, Bogotá).
The cultural complex once located in what today is the Quindío department (western Colombia) was characterized by the ceramic production of various types and a decorative richness applied to different uses, which together with its symbolism reflects artistic qualities particular to this area. They were expert designers of seals and painting tools, they represented their houses by reproducing their actual structure and made whistling vessels as a derivative form from that of the alcarraza. Although they had a wide diffusion in the Andean area, the whistling vessels of the Quindío culture were the most characteristic and those that possessed greater aesthetic qualities.
The Quimbaya goldsmithing was of high artistic quality and refined taste. They produced a whole series of objects for personal adornment, domestic and warfare utensils, and ritual elements, specializing in the work of the tumbaga. The most typical themes were the anthropomorphic -with the representation of the human figure of admiring perfection-, zoomorphic, and the astonishing vessel-type containers or poporos*. These containers are the best gold objects produced by the Quimbaya.
Tolima Culture. Top Left: Anthropomorphic pectoral, Early Period, 1000 BC. – 800 AD. (Gold Museum). Top Right: Anthropozoomorphic pectoral, Early Period, 1000 BC. – 800 AD. (Gold Museum). Bottom Left: Funerary urn, Late Period, ca. 800 AD. (Gold Museum). Bottom Right: Tolima pottery bowl.
The typical art of the Tolima culture was forged in the valley of the current Tolima department (central Colombia) and slopes neighboring the Magdalena river: theirs was a goldsmith distinguished by its designs and peculiarities of style. They worked high-quality silver gold using the same techniques and procedures as other pre-Hispanic goldsmiths. It was an art flat in nature, smooth, with a marked geometric tendency it shows slits applied on the gold sheets in parallel lines or bars, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs and a sober decoration. They made earrings, pendants and necklaces with geometric-zoomorphic designs as well as large pectorals.
The typology of their pottery coincides with that of the Quimbaya area. They produced two or three types of pottery that can be considered as characteristic: anthropomorphic representations -generally seated, naked, with ritual deformations in arms and legs-, clay seats -with a back piece whose dimensions suggest to have been used by children-, and funerary urns: those found at the town of Honda have a human figure on the lid.
Tairona Culture. Top Left: Tairona gold pendants (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Top Right: Pectoral in the form of a Bat-Man, ca. 900 a 1600 AD. (Gold Museum of Santa Marta, Colombia). Bottom Left: Ceramic tray with bat decorations, 650-1600 AD. (Gold Museum of Santa Marta). Bottom Right: Alcarraza, ca. 600 – 1500 AD.
The Tairona occupied a great part of the area of the Santa Marta mountain range (Department of Magdalena, northern Colombia), characterized by its rugged and difficult access. This geographical environment conditioned their creative activity, which was directed to a practical end. The Tairona art is sumptuary, and except for funerary urns and ceremonial vessels, its production was destined to the sumptuous embellishment of the human body, especially amulets and necklaces, pendants and pectorals. Their jewels are among the most precious and admired of the Pre-Columbian goldsmith, surprising by its technical perfection. They used tumbaga and mostly expressed masculine subjects in addition to represent zoomorphic motifs. The ceramics was of three types distinguished by color: black -ceremonial in character, represented by the “alcarrazas”-, reddish -large funerary urns-, and dark gray or reddish-grey -ocarinas and whistles-. In addition, they manufactured small urns (some snake-shaped) and chairs.
Cultures of the Atlantic Plains
Sinú Culture. Top Left: Gold jaguar (Museum of the Zenú Gold, Cartagena, Colombia). Bottom Left: Gold jaguar. Center: Funerary urn with human lid. Right: Bird finial (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
Located in the Lower Magdalena area (Department of Córdoba, northwest Colombia) was in the middle Sinú river where the most important archaeological sites of this area were found in Colombia. Their art included: funerary urns -crowned with anthropomorphic lids, including those found at Tamalameque-, utilitarian and ritual ceramics shaped in human figures conceived as sculptures, and goldsmith in which they combined diverse techniques, the “false filigree”, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs and geometric decoration. They made nose-pieces, bra-shaped pectorals, crowns, hollow anthropomorphic figurines, necklace beads, short pins, etc.
Cultures from the Southern Colombian Andes
Nariño Culture. Top Left: Gold pendants. Top Right: Gold pendants, Late Nariño Period, 600-1700 AD. (Gold Museum). Bottom Left: Tuza footed dish with animal motifs. Bottom Right: Nariño vessel, ca. 1000-1500 AD.
Their pottery reached important artistic development the pottery from Nariño surprises by its forms and decoration emphasizing the negative painting or positive bicolor. In the area of Popayán (Department of Cauca), the sculptures and stone reliefs included cylindrical statues to be placed directly on the ground and others made in slabs with flat forms. Their jewelry work stands out for the large gold pectorals, nose rings, discs and plaques, all made with fine gold sheets and with complex geometric designs.
Muisca Culture. Left: Male effigy cache figure or Tunjo, 1100–1550 AD. (Gold Museum). Top Right: Muisca textile bag (or Mochila) found alongside a mummy (Gold Museum). Bottom Left: Múcura style Muisca vessel, 400-1800 AD. (National Museum of Colombia, Bogotá). Bottom Right: Gold pectoral (Gold Museum).
The name of the “Muisca” culture, which means “person” or “people”, applies to the indigenous society settled on the plateaus and savannas that today correspond to the Cundinamarca and Boyacá Departments of central Colombia. Its art is characterized by its pure utilitarian purposes, by its extremely schematic forms and elemental motifs evidencing an artistic activity that was performed during their free time. They excelled in the manufacturing of textiles, for which they used cotton and “wool” -the fibers of lignin and cellulose that surround the seed from the Ceiba tree fruit-, and also mixing human hair to obtain certain textures and qualities in the fabrics. They decorated their fabrics by painting or embossing them and they were of large dimensions. The blankets and the ruana (a poncho-style robe typical of this culture) were very important for the Muisca people. Excellent craftsmen of the copper and the tumbaga, the Muisca produced magnificent pectorals among other objects. Eminently typical of this culture were the “tunjos*”, mainly anthropomorphic. In its pottery stands the “múcura*“, the Muisca vessel par excellence.
The famous Muisca raft (Balsa Muisca), also known as “El Dorado Raft”, a gold votive, is one of the treasures of the Gold Museum in Bogotá. It is dated between 600 and 1600 AD and made using the lost-wax casting technique in gold with a small amount of copper. The artifact refers to the ceremony of the legend of El Dorado and represents the ceremony of investiture of the Muisca chief, which used to take place at Lake Guatavita in Colombia. During this ritual, the heir to the chieftainship (or “Zipa”) covered his body with gold dust and jumped into the lake along with gold offerings and emeralds to the gods. The piece has a base in the shape of a log boat of 19.5 cm x 10.1 cm and various figures on the raft, the largest figure that stands in the middle apparently represents the chief, which is adorned with headdresses, nose rings and earrings, his height is 10.2 cm and is surrounded by his soldiers who carry banners.
Alcarraza: (From the Arabic al-karaz, meaning a pitcher). An earthenware container.
Hypogeum: (plural hypogea or hypogaea from Greek hypo -under- and gaia -mother earth or goddess of earth-). It usually refers to an underground temple or tomb. The later Christians built similar underground shrines, crypts and tombs, which they called catacombs. But this was only a difference in name, rather than purpose and rituals, and archeological and historical research shows they were effectively the same. Hypogea will often contain niches for cremated human remains or loculi for buried remains.
Múcura: A clay pot similar to a pitcher or jug, of medium size, with a long narrow neck and spherical body. In Pre-Columbian times it was used to collect, drink and store water, chicha (a corn-based beverage), and cereals. Symbolically, it represents the feminine principle, more specifically the woman’s womb. It was also a piece of trousseau in funeral rites in various Pre-Columbian cultures.
Poporo: A device used by indigenous cultures in present and pre-Colombian South America for storage of small amounts of lime. It consists of two pieces: the receptacle, and the lid which includes a pin that is used to carry the lime to the mouth while chewing coca leaves. Since the chewing of coca is sacred for the indigenous people, the poporos are also attributed with mystical powers and social status.
Ruana: A poncho-style outer garment typical of the Andes region of Colombia, particularly in the Boyacá department and Antioquia. The word ruana comes from the Chibcha ruana meaning “Land of Blankets,” used to refer to the woolen fabrics manufactured by the Muisca culture. A ruana is basically a very thick, soft and sleeveless square or rectangular blanket with an opening in the center for the head to go through with a slit down the front to the hem. A ruana may or may not come with a hood to cover the head. The ruanas worn by the native Muisca were apparently made of wool and knee-long, well-suited to the cold temperatures of the region where they were used not only as a piece of garment but also as a blanket for use in bed or to sit on as a cushion of sorts.
Tunjo: (from Muysccubun or Muisca language: chunso), a small anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figure elaborated by the Muisca peoples of Colombia as part of their art. Tunjos were made of gold and tumbaga a gold-silver-copper alloy. The Muisca used their tunjos in various instances in their religion and as a small votive offering figures. Tunjos were used as offer pieces, to communicate with the gods and when the Muisca asked for favours from their deities.
The Glittering Gold Museum in Bogota
The Gold Museum in Bogota is one of Columbia’s most important museums with an extraordinary collection of Pre Hispanic gold work on display. The museum has more than 34,000 pieces of gold, belonging to the indigenous cultures who lived more than 500 years ago, during the Inca Empire and long before it. The pieces on display represents the largest collection of pre-Columbian South American gold work in the world, and together with pottery, woodwork, textile and other archeological objects, they tell the stories of more than a dozen indigenous societies which inhabited what is now known as Colombia before contact was made with Europe.
The indigenous people of South America were rich in gold and silver. These people had­ been mining the Andes and working with the precious metal for thousands of years, creating finely crafted treasure and jewelry. Their use of gold was religious and ceremonial, as a beautiful offering to the gods or a sign of status and power.
An exhibit at the Gold Museum in Bogota. This gold mask was made between 200 BC to 900 AD. Photo credit
When the Spanish came, they quickly stripped the Inca Empire of thousands of pounds of gold and silver. What little survived were hidden away in secret tombs and sacred sites, and now are at display at the Gold Museum. The museum was founded in 1939 with its first major acquisition, a container from the Quimbaya people called the Poporo Quimbaya. The vessel’s smooth gold surface and symmetrical crown is strikingly modern, even though it was crafted between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago.
The museum’s most precious collection is the Muisca Raft discovered in 1886 in a Colombian cave. The piece is about 10 inches long and depicts a chieftain standing on a flat raft and surrounded by priests and oarsmen, in what appears to be a ceremony of the legend of El Dorado, a mythical city of unimaginable richness, that seduced the Spanish colonizers. The item weighs 287 grams of which 80% is gold.
The Muisca Raft, circa 600 AD – 1600 AD. Photo credit
As apparent from the Gold Museum, the Spanish invaders did not manage to get their hands on all of Inca’s treasures, but some believe that there is an even larger collection — a fabulous hoard of gold, hidden somewhere deep inside a mountain, still waiting to be found.
The legend begins in the 16th century, when Emperor Atahualpa was captured by the Spanish commander Francisco Pizarro. Pizarro agreed to release Atahualpa if the Inca Emperor filled a large room, about 22 feet by 17 feet by 8 feet, with gold and twice with silver. Atahualpa fulfilled his end of the deal, but the Spaniard did not. Before the last and largest part of the ransom had been delivered, the Spanish, fearing an imminent attack from Atahualpa’s general, had him executed. The story goes that when Atahualpa’s men learned about the murder, they buried the gold in a secret cave in Llanganates mountain somewhere between the Andes and the Amazon. There is a different version according to which the gold was thrown into a lake so that the Spanish could never get it.
Over the next two hundred years, dozens of expedition carrying thousands of men came looking for the lost treasure, but the mountains of the Llanganates refused to surrender their secret.
A funerary mask, circa 100 BC - 400 AD. Photo credit
It’s hard to say whether it really happened or is just a fable, but there is another extension to this story. The legend goes that a Spaniard named Vincente de Valverde, who later became the bishop of Cuzco, discovered the gold after marrying an Inca princess from the area. Before he died, Valverde wrote a detailed guide — the so-called Derrotero de Valverde — on how to find the treasure, and bequeathed the document to King Charles V of Spain. Several attempts were made to locate it but each time the dispatcher the King sent would mysteriously disappear.
Nothing was known about the treasure or the guide, until more than 300 years later, in the 1850s, when English botanist Richard Spruce reportedly uncovered Valverde's guide and a related map. Richard Spruce couldn’t find the gold, but treasure seeker Captain Barth Blake is believed to have.
Blake made maps of the area and sent letters back home. In one of his letters he wrote:
It is impossible for me to describe the wealth that now lays in that cave marked on my map, but I could not remove it alone, nor could thousands of men … There are thousands of gold and silver pieces of Inca and pre-Inca handicraft, the most beautiful goldsmith works you are not able to imagine, life-size human figures made out of beaten gold and silver, birds, animals, cornstalks, gold and silver flowers. Pots full of the most incredible jewelry. Golden vases full of emeralds.
Blake took what he could carry and left for New York where he planned to raise funds for an expedition to recover his prize. Blake never reached New York. Some say he was pushed overboard. If the story is true, Blake might have been the last person to see the lost gold.
The legend of Inca’s lost treasure persist to this date, inspiring dozens of books, movies and the occasional adventurer who still roam the steamy jungles of South America in search of it.
A breastplate in the shape of a bat-man, circa 900 AD – 1600 AD. Photo credit
Opening hours and entrance fee
The Gold Museum is located at Santander’s Square in Carrera 6 No. 15-88, a block away from the Gold Museum Transmilenio station.
- The entrance fee is 4.000 COP/ 1.5 USD.
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday to Saturday: 9:00-19:00
- Sunday: 10:00-17:00
- The last entrance is one hour before closing
So if you want to know more about pre-Colombian art and history in Bogotá and Colombia I strongly advise you to go see it yourself, you’ll be enchanted by gold!
Geography has played a critical role in shaping Colombian culture, particularly in regard to regional isolation. Prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in the 16th century, the aboriginal populations of the area that was to become Colombia had achieved a high level of cultural development. Because they built largely of wood and occupied a tropical area of generally moderate to high rainfall, they left little evidence of their achievements. All groups had some form of social organization, but, except for the Chibcha of the Cordillera Oriental, they were organized in small chiefdoms (cacigazcos) under chiefs (caciques) whose authority was sharply limited geographically. Agriculture, pottery making, and weaving were all but universal. Some groups—for example, the Chibcha, Quimbaya, Tairona, Sinú, and Calima—had developed great skills in metalworking (especially goldsmithing), sculpture, and ceramics. The San Agustín culture, centred in the headwaters area of the Magdalena River, left giant anthropomorphic figures carved of stone that have been an enigma for archaeologists. While groups of Caribbean origin were warlike and practiced ritual cannibalism, others from the interior possessed a rich mythology and a religion that upheld ethical standards and norms on questions of private ownership and the prevention of crime.
Until the mid-1970s it was thought that no indigenous group had left any large architectural monuments such as those erected by the Aztecs, Mayas, or Incas. The excavation, beginning in 1976, of a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) city apparently built about 900 ce by the Tairona in the Santa Marta massif, however, marked a turning point in the study of Colombia’s prehistory.
The Andean Indians, particularly the Chibcha, practiced sedentary agriculture and were able to offer but small resistance to the Spanish invaders. They became the great biological and cultural contributors to the process of racial amalgamation, or mestizaje. The low demographic density of the pre-Hispanic population and its swift destruction during the colonial period led to the formation of a rather open society and to the substitution of Hispanic forms of culture for the indigenous ones. The most widely used native language, Chibcha, virtually disappeared in the 18th century.
From colonial times, Bogotá—the “Athens of South America”—has been the nation’s cultural centre, and most cultural institutions are located within the metropolitan area. Other cities of cultural prominence include Cali, Medellín, Manizales, Tunja, and Cartagena.
There is archaeological evidence that ceramics were produced on Colombia's Caribbean coast earlier than anywhere in the Americas outside of the lower Amazon Basin. Fiber-tempered ceramics associated with shell middens appeared at sites such as Puerto Hormiga, Monsú, Puerto Chacho, and San Jacinto by 3100 BC. Fiber-tempered ceramics at Monsú have been dated to 5940 radiocarbon years before present. The fiber-tempered pottery at Puerto Hormiga was "crude", formed from a single lump of clay. The fiber-tempered pottery at San Jacinto is described as "well-made". Sand-tempered coiled ceramics have also been found at Puerto Hormiga.    The Piartal culture (750–1250 AD) in the mountainous region on the Colombia–Ecuador border produced unique methods of producing pottery as well as patterns inspired by animal or snake skin. Vessels were created for use in secondary burial, or the practice of allowing the flesh to decompose and then reburying the bones. These vessels were also used to hold relics and jewelry belonging to the deceased. 
The earliest examples of gold craftsmanship have been attributed to the Tumaco people of the Pacific coast and date to around 325 BCE. Gold would play a pivotal role in luring the Spanish to the area now called Colombia during the 16th century (See: El Dorado).
One of the most valued artifacts of Pre-Columbian goldwork is the so-called Poporo Quimbaya, a small (23.5 × 11.4 cm), hollow, devotional object (used to mambeo or coca leaf chewing ritual) made of gold whose aesthetic harmony, simple elegance, and mathematical symmetry are striking and almost modern. [ citation needed ]
The Museo del Oro in Bogotá displays the most important collection of pre-Columbian gold handicraft in the Americas.
Roughly between 200 BCE and 800 CE, the San Agustín culture, masters of stonecutting, entered its “classical period". They erected raised ceremonial centres, sarcophagi, and large stone monoliths depicting anthropomorphic and zoomorphhic forms out of stone. Some of these have been up to five meters high.
Related to the San Agustín culture were the inhabitants of Tierradentro (“inner land”, so called because of its inaccessibility) who created over one hundred and fifty underground tombs, or hypogea their walls and ceilings were richly decorated with geometric forms recalling the interior of palm huts. Also in the tombs were found funeral urns, bowls, and pitchers.
The Muisca raft votive piece, Muisca (Pasca, Cundinamarca), gold, 600 CE - 1600 CE
Monumental tomb, Middle San Agustín period (San Agustín, Huila), 100 BCE - 700 CE
The Colombian sculpture from the sixteenth to 18th centuries was mostly devoted to religious depictions of ecclesiastic art, strongly influenced by the Spanish schools of sacred sculpture. During the early period of the Colombian republic, the national artists were focused in the production of sculptural portraits of politicians and public figures, in a plain neoclassicist trend. During the 20th century, the Colombian sculpture began to develop a bold and innovative work with the aim of reaching a better understanding of national sensitivity.
Monument to Bachué by Luís Horacio Betancur, Medellín
Vargas Swamp Lancers Memorial is the largest sculpture in Latin America
Botero Plaza in Medellín with permanent display of several sculptures by Fernando Botero
Bird ( By Fernando Botero) Was destroyed by a terrorist attack in 1997, Medellín where 17 people died. The remains of the sculpture are displayed in San Antonio Square as a memorial for the victims
Ranas bailando. (Dancing frogs) 1990. By María Fernanda Cardoso
Pre-Colombian period Edit
Colombian colonial art includes altar wood carving masterpieces and the statues for religious processions.
Colonial period Edit
Painting in the colonial period reflected the power and prestige of the Catholic Church and the Spanish aristocracy in Colombia or as it was then known The New Kingdom of Granada (c. 1548-1717) and later The Viceroyalty of New Granada (1717–1819).
Early colonial period Edit
Colombian painting in the early colonial period (1530s–1650) was mostly ecclesiastical in subject and based on mannerist, renaissance, and medieval styles, with some minor influence from indigenous culture.
Spanish explorers first set foot on Colombian soil in 1499 and established Santa Marta, the first city and government in the territory of Colombia, in 1599. King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabela of Castille had in 1492 year unified Spain and conquered the remaining Moorish stronghold in southern Spain (Granada) expelled Jews with the Alhambra Decree and continued the Inquisition and sent Christopher Columbus on his first expedition. It is from this context of reconquista or the Christianizing of the Iberian peninsula that the similarly strongly Catholic colonial project in the Americas might be understood. In this period, Spain and Portugal were the greatest powers in Europe and the most dogged defenders (and enforcers) of Catholicism.
Workshops in Seville produced many of the early paintings sent to Colombia. Colombian artists in this period were mostly considered common tradesmen, like cobblers or coopers. As throughout much of the history of art around the world, these usually anonymous artisans produced work that served the ideological needs of their patrons, in this case the Catholic Church.
The churches and homes of wealthy families in the main towns of Cundinamarca and Boyacá contain some of the oldest extant examples of colonial art in Colombia, mostly in the form of mural painting.
The first colonial-era painter to work in Colombia, or as it was then known as, Nueva Granada, was the Seville native Alonso de Narváez (d. 1583). He is credited with painting an image of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of the Rosary) that later became itself an object of devotion, known as Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquirá thanks to, as Catholics believe, a miraculous repairing of the painting's fabric. 
Baroque period Edit
Baroque art (starting in Rome around 1600), including Latin American Baroque (1650-1750 es:Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos), tended towards emotionalism, an appeal to populism, and large gestures and flowing garments. In line with the Counter-Reformation a generation prior, the Jesuits, an order formed to counter Protestantism, were the first to embrace the Baroque. The major influences on Colombian artists in this period were Spanish Baroque painters like Francisco de Zurbarán (1580–1664), as well as Flemish, Italian, and also Quito and Cuzco influences, through engravings and various original images imported for churches and monasteries.
Another Seville native, Baltasar de Figueroa El Viejo (1629–1667), settled in Bogotá in the early 17th century and set up an artist's workshop. He and his many descendants would be prolific and would invent a kind of creolized Colombian form of Baroque painting that combined the borrowing of forms and subjects from European engravings (mostly religious in nature: saints in various states of mortification or ecstasy, the Virgin Mary, or Christ) with native motifs and decoration. But it would be one of the Figueroa family's apprentices, Gregorio Vázquez de Arce y Ceballos, who would stand out among all painters of the colonial era.
Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos (1638–1711) is considered the greatest master of the colonial period. In his lifetime he produced around five hundred paintings, mostly devotional, with a technique that juxtaposed figures taken from paintings by European masters using innovative materials found in the New World. His depictions of the Trinity as a single figure with four eyes and three faces, an innovation unique to Latin America, would be later condemned as heretical in part because they resembled Hindu deities.
The Sopo Archangels is a series of twelve paintings, each featuring an archangel (three canonical, plus eight apocryphal, and one guardian) engulfed in a tenebrous (cloudy) background. Their figures are life-sized, clad in rich apparel, full of drapes and folds, and are meant to be "read" through their various iconography. Like many depictions of angels, these ostensibly male figures are depicted with soft, feminine faces and round hips. The origin of this series is unknown, as is the artist. It is considered one of the enduring enigmas of Colombian art.
San José y el Niño by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos, oil on wood, ca. 1670
The Gold Museum in Bogota. The largest collection of pre-Columbian South American gold
This is one of Columbia’s most famous museums. The Gold Museum in Bogota is dedicated to an amazing collection of Pre-Hispanic gold artifacts. The museum owns more than 34,000 items of gold that belonged to the indigenous people who lived there 500 years ago. The items are from the period of the Inca Empire, and some of them are even older. This is the largest collection of pre-Columbian South American gold in the world and probably one of the richest gold collections in existence. Besides the golden items, the museum houses many more archeological items such as pottery, woodwork, textile. Together these artifacts tell the story of the variety of indigenous societies that thrived on the territory of modern-day Colombia before the Europeans arrived there.
Gold and silver were never a problem for the indigenous people in South America. There was always an abundance of these materials there. The locals were mining the Andes for the precious metals for thousands of years. During this time, they became very skilled in creating beautiful items and jewelry out of these materials. In this indigenous cultures, gold was used mainly for religious and ceremonial purposes. They offered it to the gods or wore it or showed it off as a symbol for status and power.
Everything changed when the Spanish came. In a short amount of time, they managed to take away vast amounts of gold and silver from the Incas. The locals struggled to hide what was left. Part of the remaining artifacts were hidden in secret tombs and sacred sites. Today, many years after the colonization, some of those items are on display at the Gold Museum.
The museum was opened in 1939 and the first major artifact was a container from the Quimbaya people called the Poporo Quimbaya. It is a smooth golden vessel with a symmetrical crown. The container was crafted between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago.
Today, the most famous and priceless collection is the Muisca Raft. It was discovered in a Colombian cave in 1886. IT is a 10 inches long sculpture that shows a chieftain standing on a flat raft and surrounded by priests and oarsmen. It is believed that the sculpture represents a ceremony of the legend of El Dorado, the mythical of epic wealth. The item weighs 287 grams and it is made of 80% gold.
The Spanish obviously didn’t manage to take all the gold fro the indigenous people, but again, only a partial amount of the gold is displayed in the museum. Some people believe that there is a huge collection of gold hidden on a secret location. deep in the mountains. The legend of this hoard of gold dates back from the 16-th century. Emperor Atahualpa was captured by the Spanish commander Francisco Pizarro. The commander told Atahualpa that he will be released if he filled a huge room with gold and twice of that amount with silver. Atahualpa honored this demand, but Pizarro didn’t honor his part of the deal. He was afraid that Atahualpa’s general will attack him, he executed him just before the largest shipment of ransom gold was delivered. According to the story, after Atahualpa’s men found out about the murder, they buried the gold in a cave somewhere in the Llanganates mountain, between the Andes and the Amazon.
Many expeditions with thousands of men were searching for the hidden treasures for the next 200 hundred years, but the Llanganates kept its secret safe. It was never found. Even today, this treasure still inspires people to come ad search for it. Maybe one day it will be discovered.
A gold mask made between 200 BC to 900 AD. / Photo source
A breastplate in the shape of a bat-man made between 900 AD – 1600 AD. / Photo source
Welcome to the Banco de la República and its Bogotá Gold Museum. The exhibitions were completely renovated in 2008, in an enlarged building with magnificent architecture. The Gold Museum’s permanent exhibition invites you to discover the history of how gold and other metals were used by the pre-Hispanic societies who lived in the land today known as Colombia. It is displayed in four exhibition galleries and an exploration area, all of which you can visit in whatever order you prefer:
• People and Gold in Pre-Hispanic Colombia reveals how and in what contexts people used metals as part of their political and religious organisation.
The Gold Museum collection was initiated by the Central Bank in 1939. Illustrates the social and cultural life of different groups of people who lived in what is now Colombia 2,500 years to the time of the European conquest. Who were these people? How did they live? What beliefs and traditions had? How do they relate to their environment?
In this gallery, People and Gold in prehispanic Colombia, will travel the country from south to north. You will know the climates, environments, and societies and ancient cultures that lived in the Andes Mountains and the Pacific and the Caribbean, which were areas where metals are worked in the past.
• The Working of Metals describes the mining and manufacturing techniques employed by the ancient metallurgists.
The Working of Metals gallery describes the mining, smelting and metalworking processes that are behind every single metal object that is on display in the Gold Museum.
Not only the metalsmith but also the miner transformed the materials that nature offered, in order to create these timeless works of art, and they therefore deserve our fullest admiration. They were also thought of as wise men, and sometimes even as shamans, by their ancient communities.
• Cosmology and Symbolism explores mythical subjects, shamanism, and the symbology of metals.
Cosmologies gave society and its surroundings a place in the universe. All things acquired a location and a meaning, and they were interwoven in a deep symbolism. According to myths, at the beginning of time the creators gave people all they needed for living.
The Cosmology and Symbolism gallery houses various Banco de la República Gold Museum masterpieces —admittedly, inside a vault, for safekeeping. But the value of what is kept there lies in the indigenous thought which gave those magnificent objects a meaning, a raison d’être.
• The Offering immerses the visitor in the world of ceremonies at which offerings were made.
Pre-Hispanic goldwork objects were more than mere ornaments, they were symbols of the religion of pre-Hispanic indigenous groups: shamanism.
The exhibition room on the third floor of the new Gold Museum deals with the meaning of this religious art, in a semi-dark environment where six cylindrical showcases connect heaven and earth. The Muisca Raft, the object which symbolises the El Dorado myth and ceremony, introduces the subject of the offering that was made by the chieftain or the shaman in order to encourage or restore equilibrium in the world.
• The Exploratorium encourages interactivity and reflection on the diversity and meaning of the heritage that is preserved in the Museum.
The Gold Museum offers to the public a room entirely new both in its content and in its concept, called the Exploratorium. Located on the fourth floor, this is a space that encourages each visitor to interact with the exhibits, and to that end proposes surprising elements like videos projected on the floor, on which images walks or models representing different aspects of everyday life of muiscas.
In the Exploratory not give answers: it motivates everyone is asking questions and so link the museum with his own experience. With attractive themes on archeology, Zenú channel map of Colombia and the village of diversity, encourages reflection on memory, heritage, identity, diversity and coexistence.
The Exploratorium also has a terrace and a lounge with well equipped workshops where activities are scheduled.
✦ The Colombian food shows a reflection of the European style of cooking. Inland recipes also bear Amerindian influences.
✦ Colombian coffee is famous the world over, for its quality.
✦ Fritanga that includes grilled beef and chicken, ribs, and sausage with potatoes, is a favorite dish of the Colombians. Tubers and meat make their staple food.
✦ Ajiaco is a traditional meat dish in the Andes region of Colombia. It was born in Bogota.
✦ Changua (milk soup with eggs) is a breakfast soup of the Andean region. Soups like sancocho de gallina and ajiaco are also popular.
✦ Tamales are popular in the Tolima region. Rondon, a seafood is popular in the island regions. Coconut rice is popular in the coastal regions. Dishes in the Amazon are influenced by the cooking styles of Brazil and Peru.
✦ Manjar Blanco, a creamy dessert, Arroz con Coco (coconut rice pudding), and Natilla, a custard-like pudding made from cornstarch are among the Colombian desserts.
✦ Colombians generally have hot chocolate with cheese. It is added to hot chocolate and allowed to melt, after which one can have it with a spoon. It tastes good that way.