During the Yotoco-Malagana period (AD 1-500), the upper and middle region of the river Calima and the fertile plains of the river Cauca were populated by farmers who built agricultural terraces, dwellings, drainage systems and networks of roads. Their chiefs had specialists who manufactured elaborate metal objects which are normally found in shaft graves. The gold objects are made by hammering and casting. In contrast to other regions, where tumbaga is preferred, these gold items are characteristically made of relative pure gold (Bray 1978: 63). Many of the objects are characterized by a large scale which was conceived to cover great parts of the body. When fully dressed, the metal ornaments of a Calima chief of the Yotoco period would have covered a substantial part of the body surface. The mouth was hidden by a large nose ornament, so that it was not seen when the mouth moved while speaking. Nose ornaments in the southwestern Cauca valley (Malagana culture) can be up to 23 cm high. Dangling gold discs are set in hollow spaces on the gold plate of the nose ornament and sparkle in the sunlight.
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Lol, it's gorgeous. If a bit, much. But go big or go home if you got the means right? The detail is incredible. Is that a little face I see where the Chief's mouth is supposed to be? Is it meant to represent like "No talky talky to your better"? Or is it like a case of the evil eye?
Yes, indeed, sometimes it’s too much for our western taste. But their identity was defined by dress and ornaments. This is why I focus on them. And yes, it’s a little face. The rectangular platelets on both side of the nose represent the eyes and are movable. The whole nose ornament represents a supernatural character with its face in the center, so protecting the chief is one point. The nose ornament was used to hide the mouth, so that it was not seen when the mouth moved while speaking. Gave the impression the person is not human.
Really like and appreciate your comments.
Exactly! It also underlines the supernatural aspect of the chief. Many of the ornaments are more than just ornaments. They "transform" the wearer.
Thank you for this great comment!