The Gold Museum of the Banco de la República has been invited by one of New York’s most famous museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) to showcase 29 precious items from its Bogotá collection as part of the temporary exhibition Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas.
The exhibition brings together pre-Columbian objects and materials used by caciques as a symbol of luxury and power, joining some 300 other objects from twelve countries, and 52 cultural entities. Having opened to the public at the end of February, Golden Kingdoms runs until May 28, and, no doubt, will impress visitors from around the world who make the MET an obligatory stop on a visit to New York.
From jade jewellery worn by Olmec and Aztec chieftains of the territory that today encompasses Mexico to feathered headdress and embroidered textiles worn by the Maya, gold was the precious metal of choice for many of the pre-Hispanic cultures that inhabited the northern Andes, including the Tayrona, Calima, Quimbaya and Muisca peoples. Luxury objects of Colombia’s ancient societies marked the prestige of their rulers, as well as shamans who believed gold to be a connection between the earthly and divine. “The most impressive of this exhibition is to see the masterpieces gathered in the same space from a whole continent,” believes Juanita Sáenz, archaeologist and head of registry at the Museo del Oro. Three Colombian gold objects were also chosen to illustrate the invitation to the inauguration, exhibition website and cover of the catalogue.
The Gold Museum’s visible collection in the MET’s Golden Kingdoms is the latest of more than 200 temporary exhibitions the Colombian institution has participated in. As part of the Museo del Oro’s commitment to showcase Colombian heritage overseas, the cultural exchange includes internships for researchers at the MET’s investigative center and J. Paul Getty museum in Los Angeles, one of the co-curators of Golden Kingdoms. “They are museums with leading experts, and impressive research, and conservation laboratories. Without a doubt, these alliances will be beneficial for the study and care of the Gold Museum’s collections, which not only belong to the Colombians of today but also to those of the future,” said Sáenz. So, if planning a trip to the Big Apple this spring, you’ll find your El Dorado on Fifth.