I met Stacey Whale, the jeweller attached to the Green Gold exhibition, in Bogotá and together we visited the Museo del Oro, or Gold Museum, one of the most important collections of pre-Hispanic metallurgy in the world. The collection began when the Banco de la República acquired a Quimbaya lime container or poporo, made of gold. Today the collection comprises of 50,000 objects made of metal, ceramic, stone, wood and textiles, of which 35,000 are pieces of pre-Colombian gold work, most of which are found at the Museo del Oro.
Detail of the painting by Francis Martin featuring the Quimbaya lime container or Poporo.
On display is the work of the pre-Colombian indigenous groups that have been identified in Colombian territory, and how they found and worked gold. Each culture had distinctive characteristics which set them apart, and this is presented within a geographical and historical framework. The centrepiece of the museum is the Salon Dorado, a dazzling display of 8000 pieces inside an inner vault.