‘At the beginning of our relationship, my wife Sybil and I would frequently visit the Museum for creative inspiration. My fascination with ancient jewellery became the catalyst to make historical forms contemporary.’ – David Yurman
The exhibition presents spectacular finds from recent archaeological excavations – crowns, pectorals, pendants, necklaces, ear and nose ornaments, labrets, masks, mantles, goblets, vases, stelas, bells, painted books, and more – that have rarely, if ever, left their country of origin.
‘In the ancient Americas, precious objects were designed to provoke a powerful response – perceptually, sensually, and conceptually. This speaks to me as a designer and an artist.’ – David Yurman
This chest ornament, one of the largest and most ornate cast-gold works known from the ancient Americas, depicts a man with avian attributes. Two small lizard-like creatures, shown in profile, perch on the figure’s wings. The wax model was carefully incised to show details such as the texture of the creatures’ skin and feet.
The thin spoon with a finial, inserted between the feline’s shoulder blades, would have been used to retrieve powdered lime. Works were relatively small in scale, which meant they could be transported over vast distances as royal gifts or sacred offerings.
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