Stylized Figure Pendant

Date: 5th–7th century

Geography: Panama

Culture: International Style

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: H. 2 3/4 in. (6.99 cm)

Classification: Metal-Ornaments

Credit Line: Gift and Bequest of Alice K. Bache, 1966, 1977

Accession Number: 66.196.35


Cast in gold over a core, this stylized anthropomorphic figure fluidly integrates human and animal traits. A realistic human face capped by a sweeping headdress extends forward from the abstract body. The generalized depictions of crouching legs, outspread wings, and notched fishtail may connote earth, sky, and sea. The pendant is part of a group of ornaments of uniform style and technology. Both the puzzling combination of elements from different creatures and the superbly finished surfaces set the pendants in the group apart from other Central American goldwork. The group is widely distributed—they are known from Colombia in the south to the Yucatán Peninsula in the north—which has led to their "International Style" designation.