Property from the Estate of Jan Mitchell
TOLIMA GOLD ABSTRACT FIGURAL ORNAMENT CIRCA AD 500-1000
Height : 6 ⅛ in (15.5 cm)
Very good overall condition. Evenly and thickly hammered. The patina a consistent buttery yellow throughout. The perimeter edges all intact. A sticker from the Museum of Primitive Art on the reverse reading: "Mitchell / 10.17.69"
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Jan Mitchell, New York, acquired prior to 1969
Thence by family descent
Julie Jones, Precolumbian Art in New York: Selections from Private Collections, New York, 1969, fig. 155, illus.
The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, Precolumbian Art in New York: Selections from Private Collections, September 12-November 9, 1969
Tolima figures are renown for their abstract minimal style dominated by geometric symmetry of both straight and curvilinear form. This cast and hammered ornament combines the splayed figural type with its outstretched limbs, and the avian style by the anchor-shaped tail with a fluid ruffled perimeter resembling a bird. The avian and splayed figure pendants have been considered representations of a shamanic “flight” by Reichel-Dolmatoff (Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, Goldwork and Shamanism, an Iconographic Study of the Gold Museum, Bogota, 1988), the ornaments are iconic examples of the ecstatic transformational rites, referenced in his studies of Colombian indigenous groups of the Amazonian Sierra Nevada regions.
Goldworking was viewed as an art imbued with special powers, "goldsmiths transformed a sacred metal .. into objects with cosmological and social meaning." (Ana Mariá Falchetti, "The Gold of Greater Zenú: Metallurgy in the Caribbean Lowlands of Colombia", in McEwan, ed. Precolumbian Gold, Technology, Style and Iconography, London, 2000, p. 145).