Mask Gold  200 b.C. – A.D. 200 Palmira, Valle del Cauca 26,30 x 41,40 cm

Calima: People and Gold in the Calima Region  

The hills of the upper- and mid-Calima river region and the flat part of the Cauca valley in Valle del Cauca province are home to remains of settlements dating back almost 9,000 years.

People's physical features and details of their everyday activities can be seen in the pottery vessels that belonged to farmers in the Ilama period (1500 to 100 B.C.). Fantastic, mythical beings with a mixture of human, feline, amphibian, bat and snake features and characteristics attempt to capture the strength, bravery, ferocity and agility of these animals.

Funerary regalia from the Yotoco Period (200 B.C. to 1200 A.D.) relates the chieftain who wore it to feline figures. An enigmatic, iconic, repeated face expressed values and beliefs, and acted as support for the leaders' power and rank. In the cemetery at Malagana (200 B.C. to 200 A.D.), masks that look like skulls or lifeless faces were superimposed on the dead.

Leading figures in the Sonso period (650 to 1700 A.D.) were buried in sarcophagi with harpoons, lances and darts made of palm, in marked contrast to those from earlier periods.

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Calima and the Gold Museum Exhibition

Ilama Nature and Society


Yotoco: Social Inequality

Life and Death during the Sonso Period