For Gods and Kings: Gold in the Ancient Andes
Presented by Joanne Pillsbury, the Andrall E. Pearson Curator, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The earliest complex works of art in gold in the Western Hemisphere were made some 3,000 years ago in the Andes of South America. These finely crafted ornaments, made of gold sheet, speak to a rich supernatural world of snarling, fantastic beasts and other extraordinary beings.
In later periods, ancient Andean artists were particularly inventive in combining metals, and they developed innovative techniques to achieve a desired effect, including some that were more sophisticated than any known in Europe at the time. These technologies were deployed to create exceptional ornaments that transformed the royal body.
After 900 AD, gold was also used to produce elaborate drinking vessels—works that speak to traditions of great feasting and pageantry in the royal courts of the Incas and their predecessors. This talk shows how ornaments and vessels were vital players in acts of sacred and civic communication, channeling gold’s rich symbolic potential into some of the most spectacular works of art from the ancient world.
Drop in! This program is free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.