Gold Pendant of a Peccary - PF.4083, Origin: Costa Rica, Circa: 500 AD to 1550 AD, Dimensions: 1" (2.5cm) high, Catalogue: V21, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Pre-Columbian, Medium: Gold. The name Costa Rica, "Rich Coast," derives from the enthusiastic accounts of European conquistadors who had seen local chiefs arrayed in gold. Precolumbian gold is irresistibly alluring. This gold peccary pendant has been found with three other peccary ornaments of the same lost-wax cast. This peccary may represent either of the two pugnacious hoglike ungulates that roam Central and South America. Here, its pugnacious quality has been emphasized by its sharp teeth and ferocious expression. Subject matter of gold was strictly controlled and of the total range of animals, only a restricted group appears in the jewelry. The major food animals that were essential sources of meat, such as peccaries, are hardly represented in gold. This peccary provides a rare exception to this rule. Most of the animals depicted in gold have certain consistent behavioral qualities. They are fierce, noxious, or dangerous: they nip, sting, bite, or are posionous. The quarrelsome behavioral quality of this peccary may have enabled it to be included in this repertoire of subject matter. This pendant is not simply a "representation of nature", but the outward sign of a complex world of symbolism with its own system of beliefs which are no longer accessible to us. This gold peccary ornament was not only indicative of the power and social status of an individual, it may have been used as a symbol of the supernatural realms from which this power was thought to have originated.