Poporo (lime container) Tumbaga 0 - A.D. 600 Pajarito hill, between Angostura and Yarumal, Antioquia 23,5 x 11,4 cm

Quimbaya: People and Gold in the Mid-Cauca Region

The mid-Cauca region was inhabited for two thousand years before the Conquest by farmers, gold and salt miners, potters and goldsmiths. The goldwork of the Early Period (500 B.C. to 600 A.D.) consists of iconic figures of leaders, both men and women, as symbols of identity. The colours and shine, and the pumpkin, marrow, gourd and female shapes, all referred to fertility. One notable object is a poporo, or lime container, in the shape of a high-ranking woman in a ritual position.

Major changes occurred in the Late Period (800 to 1600 A.D.), when there was great cultural diversity and an increase in the population. The body was painted, bead ligatures were tied to the limbs, and ornaments were inserted in the nose and under the mouth. Goldwork, in which much copper was used, and pottery became geometric and schematic. Chieftains looked like jaguar-men, frog-men and lizard-men, with their ornaments and paint. Around 1540, Europeans classified the indigenous groups in 'provinces', based on their different customs and languages: Caramanta, Anserma, Arma, Picara, Carrapa, Quimbaya, Quindo, and others. Most of these were wiped out in the Conquest. 


Quimbaya and the Gold Museum Exhibition

Symbols of Power in the Early Period

Lizard-Men and Feline-Lords

 A Circular Vision of Life and Death