Lot 14
  • 14

Sinú Gold Deer Finial ca. A.D. 500-1000

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • gold
The long-legged deer with short upturned tail, long open snout, antlers projecting above, and a loop for attachment of dangles on each ear and the tip of the nose.


John Wise
Acquired from the above by the present owner's family in 1970

Catalogue Note

This heavy cast young buck is a fine example of the finial form from Sinú. Finials depicted naturalistic fauna and fowl representing the levels of the universe. The animal or bird was cast as perched on the conical, horizontal base which was inserted on a staff or scepter. Scholarship now refers to this style as part of the greater Zenú region which encompasses the Sinú, San Jorge, Nechi and lower Cauca and Magdalena river valleys.

The deer is standing proudly in a confident and direct manner. The faux filigree, in which twisted wire threads were carefully cast, created the graceful detailing of braidwork along his snout, eyes and down the spine. Loops on the ears and tip of the snout supported further ornamentation.
Deer were both venerated and hunted in ancient societies. Deer were associated with ancestors and particularly skilled hunters. The stag's pronged antlers acted as weapons, and they rely on keen eyesight, smell and hearing. In many environments the antlers grow at the same time as seasonal crops (Benson 1997:35).

See Falchetti in McEwan (2000:134-137) and fig. 7.7 for a crouching deer finial.