Anthropomorphic vessel

A vessel in human form representing a female from the society of Calima. She is sitting with her legs under her, with her feet and knees resting on the ground. Her arms lie by her sides with the hands resting on the thighs. Her chest is bare showing clearly marked nipples. A necklace with a big central bead circles her throat.

The facial features are idealized to the point of abstraction: the eyes are almond-shaped, the nose triangular, the mouth wide and half-open. The semi-circular ears are protruding. Long hair covers the head and falls down the back to the buttocks. The vessel has its opening through a short cylindrical neck with a rounded lip, on the top of the woman’s head.

The working of metals appeared in Colombian regions towards the 6th Century BC when societies which had artisans skilled in working metals lived on the Pacific coast. During the two thousand years of development of metal working in Colombia, interrupted by the Spanish conquest in 1500 AD, a dozen different styles emerged, combining different techniques on diverse alloys and producing great quantities of exceptional quality. These were notable for their equilibrium and composition which give the Pre-Hispanic working of metals in Colombia an outstanding place in world art. The main themes seen are the human figure, animals, geometric forms and a combination of all of these.

The technique of lost wax casting is a sculptural procedure using a mould made from a prototype of the piece to be worked, and this prototype is usually made from beeswax. This is covered with a thick layer of soft material, usually clay, which then solidifies. Once this has hardened it is put in a kiln where the wax inside melts and leaks out from expressly made holes in the clay. In its place molten metal is injected and this takes on the exact form of the mould. To remove the final piece the mould must be removed.


- “Oro de Colombia. Chamanismo y orfebrería”. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Santiago de Chile. 2005. (pp. 59 – 60).


- Museo del Oro de Colombia.
- Museo del Oro de Calima, Colombia.

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