Twin Tapirs Brooch

Long before the arrival of the Europeans and others, Native people of Latin America had mastered many metallurgical techniques, including mining, hammering, and casting gold to produce jewelry, ornaments, masks, and other items. In ancient Latin America, gold symbolized power and spiritual wealth but was never used for money. Tapirs are large, shy forest animals that usually live near water and like to spend time bathing and swimming. They have a short flexible "trunk" similar to that of an elephant, and use it to pick up fruit and leaves. The twin tapirs jewelry and figurine were adapted from a gold cast pendant found in Chiriqu?, Panama, that dates to AD 1000-1200.

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