Shaman effigy pendant

Tairona period
A.D. 900–1600

Object Place: Magdalena Department, Colombia, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region


16 x 12.5 x 2 cm (6 5/16 x 4 15/16 x 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold alloy

On View

Ancient South America Gallery (Gallery LG33)


Americas, Jewelry



Large pendant in the form of a standing human male with leaf-nosed bat face mask. His elaborate headdress includes two birds facing front and profile zoomorphic flanges at each side of his head. His hands clutch serpent heads at his thighs. This type of elaborate pendant is popularly refered to as a “cacique pendant”, and many represent a high ranking male person in transformation to his spiritual animal companion.


January 5, 1976, sold by Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York, to Landon T. Clay, Boston; 2000, year-end gift of Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 24, 2001)

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay