How do you wear Pre-Columbian nose, ear, and lip ornaments?
What are the artistic connections between the cultures of the ancient Americas?
What material did the Incas consider to be more precious than gold?
We’re calling for questions from you!
Kim Richter from the Getty Research Institute and Joanne Pillsbury from the Met Museum, the curators of Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas, and Emma Turner-Trujillo, the project’s research assistant, are going to answer questions on The Getty’s Instagram.
Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas explores the development of luxury arts from 1200 BC to the beginnings of European colonization in the sixteenth century. Made of precious metals and other substances esteemed for their color and luminescence, these works were imbued with sacred power by the people who created and used them.
In the ancient Americas, metals were employed primarily to create objects for ritual and regalia rather than for tools, weapons, or currency. The use of gold, transformed into objects for gods and rulers, provides the central narrative and trajectory of the exhibition, from Peru in the south to Mexico in the north.
However, other materials were often deemed far more valuable. Jade, rather than gold, was the most precious substance to the Olmecs and the Maya; and the Incas and their predecessors prized feathers and textiles above all.
These works were often transported across great distances and handed down over generations, making them a primary means by which ideas were exchanged between regions and across time. Crucial bearers of meaning, luxury arts were especially susceptible to destruction and transformation; thus the works in the exhibition are rare testaments to the brilliance of ancient American artists.
Leave your questions in the comments on this Instagram post, and we’re looking forward to getting them answered!