Tumbaga Sculpture of a Man - PF.5877, Origin: Colombia, Circa: 900 AD to 1500 AD, Dimensions: 3.75" (9.5cm) high, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Colombian, Medium: Tumbaga. This spectacular piece, cast in a gold and copper alloy called tumbaga, represents a stylized seated man holding an offering basket in his lap. In addition, he wears a woven backpack that hangs open as another offering receptacle. The backpack has two shoulder straps and a harness belt not much unlike what one would find a modern child carrying to school. The man wears an elaborate knitted cap that has been intricately represented. He is further embellished with a beaded necklace and two hoop earrings. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the work is the freedom with which the artist has molded the figure’s limbs. Contrasting heavily to the finished quality of his facial features, the limbs are mere flat strips of tumbaga twisted and curled into the proper position and then attached to the body. This thinness is opposed to the weighty mass of the body. Clearly, the artist has focused attention onto the face of the figure and the two offering receptacles, the limbs are only important in that they present the basket to us. The original contents of these baskets remain mysterious. Perhaps they once contained small morsels of food, shells, precious gems, or other such ceremonial offerings. This piece radiates a potent energy and magical force that has only grown more powerful over the passing centuries.
Ancient Near East