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The Glassell Collections of African, Indonesian & Pre-Columbian Gold

Houston philanthropist Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., had a passion for collecting, a fascination with gold art objects, and a desire to share them with the world. Like the cultures that fashioned these treasures, he valued gold not for its intrinsic value but for its spiritual meaning. The extensive collections of African, Indonesian, and Pre-Columbian gold that he gave the MFAH are a remarkable legacy. Among the highlights are a golden staff created by the Akan peoples of Ghana, a rare burial mask from Java, and jewelry made by the Moché culture of Peru.

 
Burial Mask
Gold
5th century or earlier
Linguist Staff and Top Representing an Elephant
Wood and gold leaf
19th-20th century
Necklace
Gold, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds
c. 1890
Disk Pectoral with Sun Deity
Gold
300-1550
Mask
Gold
800-1350
Warrior
Silver, gilt copper, and shell
100-800 AD
Pair of Ear Ornaments Depicting Supernatural Felines
Gold with turquoise and sodalite inlay
100-800
Soul Washer's Badge
Gold
Early 20th century
,
Sword Handle of a Bird and Snake
Wood and gold leaf
Late 19th century
Sword-Bearer's Helmet
Fur and gold
Late 19th -early 20th century
Crown
Gold
Early 20th century
Linguist Staff Top Representing a Man Holding a Book
Wood and gold leaf
1930
Sword with Ornament in the Form of a Palm Fruit
Iron, wood, gold leaf, and cast gold
c. 1930–50 (sword) and 19th century (ornament)
Poporo Representing a Female Shaman Holding Gourd-Form Poporos
Gold
1–800
Hand-Shaped Pendant
Jade
1500–300 BC
Ornament Depicting a Fanged Earth God
Gold
900-200 BC
Crown
Gold, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds
Late 19th century
Crown
Gold, amethyst, and rock crystal
9th-10th century
Pectoral
Gold
9th-10th century
Crown
Gold
17th-18th century