“Castilla del Oro” and the Regional Evolution and Dissemination of Ancient Indigenous Metallurgic Iconography in the Isthmo-Colombian Area

  • February 7, 2023
  • New York, NY


This in-person and virtual lecture will be given by Orlando Hernández Ying as part of NYU’s Pre-Columbian Society of New York Lecture Series.

Castilla del Oro was the name that Spanish settlers gave to the Central American territories from the gulf of Urabá in Colombia to the Belén River, in present-day Panamá. Stylistic similarities in the gold-copper casting along the Caribbean coasts of Colombia, Panamá, and Costa Rica, as well as in the West Indies, shed light on the seafaring vocation of Amerindian societies. This re-contextualization of the subject matter allows us to infer that the dissemination of the technical aspects of metallurgy traveled intimately intertwined with iconographic traditions that evidence traces of a pan-regional cultural exchange of cosmological ideas.

This research aims at recreating the visual language and symbolism of these gold ornaments as they evolve and disseminate throughout the Isthmo-Colombian Area. Examples from the collection in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art provide a unique opportunity to compare firsthand these enigmatic ornaments from the various cultures that inhabited the region.

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In-person and virtual lecture at 6 pm EST. Advance registration is required.