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Currently shown

Funerary Mask

Location

PERU

Era

600-1000 C.E.

Culture

Wari

Title

Funerary Mask

Materials

Gold

Dimensions

12.7 x 18.7 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1972.Ad.1

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Gold working has been practised in the Andes for at least four thousand years. A very malleable metal, it was not used to make tools, but rather objects for rituals or those reserved for elites. Its colour and luminosity associated with the sun, many objects made of gold alloys or gold-plated copper attest to the importance given to the metal’s appearance. This Wari-style funerary mask was made from a sheet of hammered gold that was then worked in repoussé. As gold is a stable metal, placed in a funerary bundle it gave the deceased a face for eternity.

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