Funerary mask

Early Yotoco period
AD 50-550

Object Place: Cauca and Calima River Valleys, Valle de Cauca Department, Colombia


15.56 x 16.83 cm (6 1/8 x 6 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold alloy

On View

Ancient South America Gallery (Gallery LG33)





Hammered sheet gold burial mask. The Calima culture of Colombia’s southern highlands is renown for its outstanding gold artworks. The region’s rivers were rich in placer gold, and the Calima people were famous for their sumptuous use of nearly pure gold objects as personal adornments. This life-like mask, made from hammered sheet gold, likely was tied onto a mummy bundle and served as the face of the deceased.


1975, acquired in Europe by Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York; February 28, 1975, sold by Jax to Landon T. and Lavinia Clay, Boston; 2004, year-end gift of Landon T. and Lavinia Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

Credit Line

Gift of Lavinia and Landon T. Clay