Frog Pendant

Date: 11th–16th century

Geography: Costa Rica

Culture: Chiriqui

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: H. 4 1/8 x W. 4 in. (10.5 x 10.2cm)

Classification: Metal-Ornaments

Credit Line: Jan Mitchell and Sons Collection, Gift of Jan Mitchell, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.419.1


The forms of the brilliantly colored tree frogs that populate the rain forests of Costa Rica and Panama frequently appear in the goldwork of the region. Cast by the lost-wax process, the representation varies from naturalistic to abstract and stylized. The lifelike, smooth surface and three-dimensional form of the frog's head, abdomen, and legs contrast with the flattened feet and stylized serpentine tongue. This elaborate bifurcated tongue formally balances the large feet and creates harmony. The hole in the foot seen on the left is a casting flaw. Although not visible from the front, a suspension loop is located at each side of the head.