Pre-Columbian Gold

The Milwaukee Public Museum's Pre-Columbian Gold collection comes from Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico. Until the mid-1900s, such items were worth more as scrap than as artifacts and were melted down, losing a great amount of information. For this reason, museum collections are vital in providing information on Pre-Columbian gold working.

This artifact is a hollow jaguar fabricated from 12 pieces of sheet-gold. It dates to the Earliest Moche period (400-100 BC) and is from the Lambayeque Valley in northwest Peru. The jaguar is one of a set of seven identical pieces that were made by the same craftsman. The other jaguars in this set are in museums in Chicago, Richmond, Montreal, Lima, Munich, and Hamburg. This object and other examples of Pre-Columbian gold are on exhibit on the Third Floor mezzanine.

Item Image
Catalog Number
Accession Number