Disk Pendant

Disk Pendant

1000–1500 CE
Culture
Greater Chiriqui
Country
Panama, Costa Rica
Style/Tradition
Diquís
pendant
This disk was fashioned using a combination of hammering, annealing, and repousse.
Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer
1996.86

Unknown artist, Disk Pendant. Diquis Region, Costa Rica or Panama, 1000–1500 CE. Gold alloy. .125 x 6.5 in. Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1996.86. 

This object is currently on view
Dimensions
depth: 1/8 in, 0.3175 cm; diameter: 6 1/2 in, 16.5100 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Breastplate
About A.D. 1000 – 1500
Costa Rica, Diquís region
Gold alloy
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1996.86

Gold breastplates, worn by both men and women, were mentioned in the first reports of Columbus’s contact with indigenous peoples on the mainland of Costa Rica in 1504.  The broad circular ring in the middle of this disk would have acted as a mirror, reflecting beams of sunlight.  The circular form and brilliant gold color were probably associated with the sun.  The manufacture of large gold disks was a laborious process that required a combination of cold hammering and annealing to flatten and join nuggets of gold, or ingots of gold-copper alloy.  The decoration was done using a technique called repoussé, which involved placing the object on a piece of soft leather or textile and pressing patterns into it with a pointed instrument made from wood, bone, or antler.  The object was worked on from both the back and the front, depressing concave spaces and pressing out convex ones.

Exhibition History
  • “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 10/24/2021 – 7/17/2022