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Pre-Columbian Zenú Gold Nose Piece

  • This intriguing gold nose ornament is an extraordinary piece of rare Pre-Columbian jewelry.
  • It was crafted by the Zenú, an Amerindian tribe from the Caribbean Coast of Colombia
  • Made from hammered sheet gold, it is crafted in an elegant, sculptural design
  • This item was almost certainly worn by a person of immense political power and wealth
  • Get complete item description here
$15,000
Item No. 29-9939

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Description
This intriguing Zenú nose ornament is thousands of years old. Forged by Zenú metalworkers in the Caribbean Lowlands of Colombia, the hammered sheet gold nose ornament showcases fascinating abstraction and a remarkable modernist design aesthetic. As evidenced by contemporaneous ceramic figurines crafted by this Pre-Columbian people, nose pieces like these were designed to be worn around the septum. The design recalls the arrowhead motif also employed by the Zenú in their basket-weaving and the piece. . .
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This intriguing Zenú nose ornament is thousands of years old. Forged by Zenú metalworkers in the Caribbean Lowlands of Colombia, the hammered sheet gold nose ornament showcases fascinating abstraction and a remarkable modernist design aesthetic. As evidenced by contemporaneous ceramic figurines crafted by this Pre-Columbian people, nose pieces like these were designed to be worn around the septum. The design recalls the arrowhead motif also employed by the Zenú in their basket-weaving and the piece mimics the appearance of whiskers when worn. Even though it is centuries old, a Pre-Columbian gold ornament such as this piece could rival any contemporary jewelry or sculptural design and is a rare and significant find.

This object is part of the group of Zenú metalwork defined as “narigueras con prolongaciones horizontales" or "nose ornaments with horizontal extensions.” While much of Zenú people’s precious gold was cast using the lost wax method to create hollow objects, this extraordinary nose ornament is crafted from solid hammered gold. Zenú nose ornaments such as these are highly rare and very similar examples that showcase the hollow lost-wax method are held in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

The Pre-Columbian Zenú lived in the river valleys and along the Caribbean Coast of Colombia from around 200 to 1600 AD. They were most renowned for their elaborate irrigation and waterwork systems, their exquisite gold work, and the political significance of women. In the 16th-century, Spaniards came to the area, lured by the magnificence of the Zenú's ceremonial burial gold.

600-1250 AD

10 1/4" length
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Pre-Columbian Zenú Gold Nose Piece
Period: Pre-18th Century
Origin: America
Length: 10 Inches
Height: 10.25 Inches
Style: Ancient
Buy with Confidence

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