Skip to main content

All that glitters


Gold chest plate, Gold museum, Costa Rica
Semi circular chest plate, gold, 700 A.D., South Pacific
The Pre-Colombian Gold Museum is one of three museums created in the 1950s by the Central Bank of Costa Rica from the original History and Numismatic Museum to promote “meaningful and relevant connections with the material and human dimensions” of Costa Rican cultural heritage. The museum is in an underground vault in the center of San Jose.

How gold jewelry was worn by the indigenous people of Costa Rica

Various chest plates and pendants
1. Semi circular convex chest plate
2. Round zoomorphic and geometrical chest plate from 700 - 1500A.D., hammered
    gold with four cones protruding from the plate, worn by high ranking individuals,   
    South Pacific
3. Pendants 
4. Plain round chest plate

Collar and buckle with embossed decoration

Crab rattle, 700 A.D. to 1559 A.D., South Pacific

Anthropo-zoomorphic pendant
The use of animal or avimorphic pendants has a symbolic meaning to the wearer. These pendants may represent the cosmos or the spirit world or to intimidate the enemy.

Anthropo-avimorphic pendant, gold, South Pacific
Male figure wearing a saurian costume and bird mask with beak. Two snake heads  project from his belt.

Indigenous women played an important role in their communities. They were caciques (tribal chiefs), curanderas (healers) and warriors.

The Gold Museum occupies three levels in a subterranean space and is literally inside a vault. The museum collection includes ceramic and stone objects.

Ceramic pottery, 800 A.D. to 1500 A.D.
The center pot has the head of an armadillo and is elaboratedly painted in black, red and cream. Notice the arms and feet with painted toenails. These pieces depicting animal and bird designs are consistent with those found on metal objects of the period (as shown in the images above).

Stone metate, Gold museum, Costa Rica
Stone metate with animal head
A metate is used for grinding/crushing maize or grain with a small stone. Some metates in the museum date back to 700 A.D. 
How to get there:

Entrance to Pre-Colombian Gold Museum
The Gold Museum is in the center of the city of San Jose, behind the National Theater and under the Plaza de de La Cultura. Please check the museum website for current entrance fee. Big bags or backpacks are not allowed in the museum. You’ll have to leave this in a locker. Covid-19 safety precautions are observed.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie

 

Popular posts from this blog

8 Heritage Houses of Iloilo

Lizares Mansion The province of Iloilo on the island of Panay has a rich trove of heritage houses, left over from the sugar industry boom in the 19th century. Iloilo also had the largest port in the Philippines at that time which facilitated the export of sugar to foreign shores and deposited money in the hands of the sugar barons. The barons dropped their earnings into the acquisition of properties in Negros and the construction of beautiful homes in Iloilo, many of which are located in the vicinity of the Jaro Cathedral. The Lizares Mansion was built in 1937 by Don Emiliano Lizares for his wife, Concepcion Gamboa and five children. The family fled to safety when World War II broke out and the house was occupied by the Japanese military. The family returned to the house after the war but left once again after the demise of Don Emiliano. It was sold to the Dominican order in the 1960s and was converted in 1978 to a private school, Angelicum School. The mansion now houses the

Filipino Struggles in History - Carlos Botong Francisco

In 1968, Antonio Villegas (then Mayor of Manila), commissioned Carlos "Botong" Francisco to paint the history of Manila for Manila City Hall. The series of large scale paintings was called  Kasaysayan ng Maynila  (History of Manila).  The paintings deteriorated over time and no attempt was made to preserve these historical canvases until 2013 when Mayor Amado Lim sent them to the National Museum for extensive restoration. Four years later, in 2017, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the Manila City Council signed an agreement with the National Museum to leave the paintings at the museum so they may reach a larger audience in exchange for museum grade reproductions to replace the originals. Kasaysayan ng Maynila was later renamed Filipino Struggles in History and is now on display at the Senate Hall of the National Museum . Carlos "Botong" Francisco died in March 1969, a few months after completing the paintings. He is one of the first Filipino modernists and

The Art of Carlos Botong Francisco - Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

Pre-colonial period Pag-unlad ng Panggagamot sa Pilipinas (The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines) is a group of four large-scale paintings depicting healing practices in the Philippines from pre-colonial times to the modern period. Carlos Botong Francisco was commissioned in 1953 by  Dr. Agerico Sison who was then the director of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) together with   Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing of the National Museum, Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr. and Dr. Constantino Manahan. These oil on canvas paintings measure 2.92 meters in height and 2.76 meters in width (9.71 ft x 8.92 ft) and were displayed at the main entrance hall of PGH for over five decades. Owing to its location, the artworks were in a state of "severe deterioration" at the beginning of the 21st century from exposure to heat, humidity, dirt, dust, smoke, insect stains, grime, termites and an oxidized synthetic resin used in an earlier restoration. These canvases were restored three times, the last was