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The Gold of The Ancient Americas

Updated on January 9, 2018
It doesn't look like much when you first walk in, but once you walk around the room... you'll realize it's not that much.
It doesn't look like much when you first walk in, but once you walk around the room... you'll realize it's not that much.

Quick and Cheap Setting For Expensive Objects

About a year ago at The Walters Art Museum the administration made available a private collection that had long become a piece of local folklore. The Gold of the Ancient Americas were several extravagant (well you know by tribal Central and South American standards) pieces of forged metals.

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"Pacific Thorny Oyster" Or if you would prefer to call it Pinkie The Clam I won't judge you...
"Pacific Thorny Oyster" Or if you would prefer to call it Pinkie The Clam I won't judge you...
"Crocodile Effigy Pendant" Made of jadeite. Yes I know there's two in this picture but the Aztecs spoke in singular.
"Crocodile Effigy Pendant" Made of jadeite. Yes I know there's two in this picture but the Aztecs spoke in singular.
"Frog Effigy Pendant" by Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui Christ I haven't played Zuma in a long time. Never could beat those later levels...
"Frog Effigy Pendant" by Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui Christ I haven't played Zuma in a long time. Never could beat those later levels...
"Two Ceremonial Drinking Vessels (Qeros)"  These are actually made of silver. I feel so guilty for deceiving you in the title. NOT.
"Two Ceremonial Drinking Vessels (Qeros)" These are actually made of silver. I feel so guilty for deceiving you in the title. NOT.
"Bowl with Deer" (1600-1610). Made of porcelain with underglaze blue. Whether you're eating human chunks of meat or Cheerios this is what the ancient Aztecs used!
"Bowl with Deer" (1600-1610). Made of porcelain with underglaze blue. Whether you're eating human chunks of meat or Cheerios this is what the ancient Aztecs used!
"Infant Christ as Savior" (17th century). Made of ivory, gilding, and traces of paint. This was most likely brought by the missionaries or "death bringers" depending on your level of pessimism.
"Infant Christ as Savior" (17th century). Made of ivory, gilding, and traces of paint. This was most likely brought by the missionaries or "death bringers" depending on your level of pessimism.
"Mercator/Braun and Hogenburg/Blaeu Composite Atlas (Vol. 1)" (17th Century). Made with ink on paper (hand-tinted). Once again brought by the Europeans.
"Mercator/Braun and Hogenburg/Blaeu Composite Atlas (Vol. 1)" (17th Century). Made with ink on paper (hand-tinted). Once again brought by the Europeans.
. "Crucifix with Strawberries and Pansies" (16th Century). Made of gold, rock crystal, and enamel. Good for warding off evil spirits and freaking out possessed supervisors.
. "Crucifix with Strawberries and Pansies" (16th Century). Made of gold, rock crystal, and enamel. Good for warding off evil spirits and freaking out possessed supervisors.
"Medallion with Portrait of Emperor Charles V" (ca. 1521) by Hans Schwarz (German) active 1512-1532. Made of gilded bronze. Once again not gold. I swear there is SOME gold in the "Gold of the Ancient Americas" expo.
"Medallion with Portrait of Emperor Charles V" (ca. 1521) by Hans Schwarz (German) active 1512-1532. Made of gilded bronze. Once again not gold. I swear there is SOME gold in the "Gold of the Ancient Americas" expo.
"Two Nose Rings"  "Tubular Bead Necklace" "Tubular Bead Necklace with Emerald Pendant" . Yes this is jewelry AND it's made of gold. I doubt it will be on sale at Zale's though.
"Two Nose Rings" "Tubular Bead Necklace" "Tubular Bead Necklace with Emerald Pendant" . Yes this is jewelry AND it's made of gold. I doubt it will be on sale at Zale's though.
"Zoomorphic Effigy Whistle" Tairona (1000-1550 AD). Made of ceramic brown-blackware. When you want to get the bitches with the bone noses in the mood.
"Zoomorphic Effigy Whistle" Tairona (1000-1550 AD). Made of ceramic brown-blackware. When you want to get the bitches with the bone noses in the mood.
"Frog Effigy Pendant" Zenu (Sinu-Darien) 900-1550 AD). Made of gold. Can someone explain to me the whole "CE" versus AD thing some time?
"Frog Effigy Pendant" Zenu (Sinu-Darien) 900-1550 AD). Made of gold. Can someone explain to me the whole "CE" versus AD thing some time?
"Bell with Feline Deity" Tairona (Late Intermediate Period, 900-1500 CE). Made of gold. Most likely a dinner bell if my research is correct. Just kidding, I don't really know. :)
"Bell with Feline Deity" Tairona (Late Intermediate Period, 900-1500 CE). Made of gold. Most likely a dinner bell if my research is correct. Just kidding, I don't really know. :)
"Bird Shape with Attached Discs". Really? It looks more like some kind of a ninja star... Then again probably not, but I bet you COULD really kick some ass if you throw it hard enough.
"Bird Shape with Attached Discs". Really? It looks more like some kind of a ninja star... Then again probably not, but I bet you COULD really kick some ass if you throw it hard enough.
"Ornament" of Tolima (before 1500 AD). "Figural Pendant" of Tolima (ca. 700-1000 AD). "Tunjo of a Standing Man with a Miniature Raft" Muisca (Late IntermidiTe Period 1000-1500 AD). All made of gold, but not Chet Faker's lover.
"Ornament" of Tolima (before 1500 AD). "Figural Pendant" of Tolima (ca. 700-1000 AD). "Tunjo of a Standing Man with a Miniature Raft" Muisca (Late IntermidiTe Period 1000-1500 AD). All made of gold, but not Chet Faker's lover.
"Pair of Earflares" of Moche (Early Intermediate, 400-600 AD). Made of gold alloy, turquoise, and stone inlay. "Earflares" what the hell?
"Pair of Earflares" of Moche (Early Intermediate, 400-600 AD). Made of gold alloy, turquoise, and stone inlay. "Earflares" what the hell?
(left) "Ceremonial Knife (Tumi)" Made of silver alloy. That's a knife? Ok Mr. Walters I'll take your word for it... Not that THAT's worth anything. (left) "Ornament" of Moche (Early Intermediate, 100 BC-600 AD). Made of gold alloy.
(left) "Ceremonial Knife (Tumi)" Made of silver alloy. That's a knife? Ok Mr. Walters I'll take your word for it... Not that THAT's worth anything. (left) "Ornament" of Moche (Early Intermediate, 100 BC-600 AD). Made of gold alloy.
"Pair of Disc-Shaped Ornaments with Pierced Hole" (Before 1500 AD). Made with gold (hammered from ingot or gold nugget). Almost looks like it has a creamy chocolate center am I right? No? Well don't eat it either way.Lois probably poisoned it.
"Pair of Disc-Shaped Ornaments with Pierced Hole" (Before 1500 AD). Made with gold (hammered from ingot or gold nugget). Almost looks like it has a creamy chocolate center am I right? No? Well don't eat it either way.Lois probably poisoned it.
"Frog Effigy Pendant" of Zenu (Sinu-Darien) 900-1550 AD). Made of gold alloy. That's ZENU not ZUMA.
"Frog Effigy Pendant" of Zenu (Sinu-Darien) 900-1550 AD). Made of gold alloy. That's ZENU not ZUMA.
"Horned Lizard" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 AD). Made of gold-and-copper alloy. Possible a salamander, my sources are still checking on that.
"Horned Lizard" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 AD). Made of gold-and-copper alloy. Possible a salamander, my sources are still checking on that.
"Horned Frog" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 AD). Made of gold-and-copper alloy. Definitely a frog, my sources don't have to check on that.
"Horned Frog" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 AD). Made of gold-and-copper alloy. Definitely a frog, my sources don't have to check on that.
"Nose Ornament" (Before 1500 AD). Made of gold (hammered sheet, chisel-cut edges, and rolled to create spiraled wire).
"Nose Ornament" (Before 1500 AD). Made of gold (hammered sheet, chisel-cut edges, and rolled to create spiraled wire).
This is an encased wax bundle. The gold makers would create a mold then pour the molten gold into bundle to form their designs. Now when I say "gold makers" I'm sure in this case there were whips involved...
This is an encased wax bundle. The gold makers would create a mold then pour the molten gold into bundle to form their designs. Now when I say "gold makers" I'm sure in this case there were whips involved...
"Three Bell Pendants: Parrot, Circular, Simple" by Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (800-1521 AD). "Pendant of a Human" Chiriqui (700-1520 AD). All made with gold-and-copper alloy (cast). These are smaller than you might think, should invest in a tighter lens.
"Three Bell Pendants: Parrot, Circular, Simple" by Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (800-1521 AD). "Pendant of a Human" Chiriqui (700-1520 AD). All made with gold-and-copper alloy (cast). These are smaller than you might think, should invest in a tighter lens.
"Funerary Mask" Sican-Chimu style. Made of gold alloy. "Booga-booga-booga-booga!"
"Funerary Mask" Sican-Chimu style. Made of gold alloy. "Booga-booga-booga-booga!"
"'Cup-Hilt Rapier" (mid 17th Century). Made of steel. Many a dastardly tribal that thing killed I bet.
"'Cup-Hilt Rapier" (mid 17th Century). Made of steel. Many a dastardly tribal that thing killed I bet.
"Qero (Kero)" (Late Horizon, 1470-1534 AD). Made of gold alloy. Nothing says land rape like having a nice cup of wine with invading Spaniards.
"Qero (Kero)" (Late Horizon, 1470-1534 AD). Made of gold alloy. Nothing says land rape like having a nice cup of wine with invading Spaniards.
"Necklace with Shamanic Effigy Pendant" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 A.D.). Made with cast gold alloy. "He went to Jarrue's!"
"Necklace with Shamanic Effigy Pendant" Veraguas-Gran Chiriqui (Period V-VI, 700-1520 A.D.). Made with cast gold alloy. "He went to Jarrue's!"
"Bird Pendant" Veraguas style. Made with gold alloy. Yeah that's pretty much what they have for this piece. See this is our tax money when you select "give money to The Walters Art Museum" at voting time.
"Bird Pendant" Veraguas style. Made with gold alloy. Yeah that's pretty much what they have for this piece. See this is our tax money when you select "give money to The Walters Art Museum" at voting time.
"Raptorial Bird Vessel, Possibly a Falcon" Papagayo Polychrome (Period VI, 1000-1350 CE). Made of earthenware, white slip overall, with painted decoration. "Here drink from this" said the invaders... I mean sailors...
"Raptorial Bird Vessel, Possibly a Falcon" Papagayo Polychrome (Period VI, 1000-1350 CE). Made of earthenware, white slip overall, with painted decoration. "Here drink from this" said the invaders... I mean sailors...
"Five Pectoral Ornaments" (700-1520 CE). Made of gold or gold alloy. and "Two Nose Rings" (Before 1500 CE). Made of gold. What no chokers? Pretty sure the Spaniards had chokers.... oh wait...
"Five Pectoral Ornaments" (700-1520 CE). Made of gold or gold alloy. and "Two Nose Rings" (Before 1500 CE). Made of gold. What no chokers? Pretty sure the Spaniards had chokers.... oh wait...

This Monitor Stopped Working A Long Ago

The fie exit on th 5th Floor of Hackerman House. To be used by the employees who once worked up there. However this fire escape was welded a few years ago to prevent homeless people from sleeping here. At least that's the Security Director's  claim.
The fie exit on th 5th Floor of Hackerman House. To be used by the employees who once worked up there. However this fire escape was welded a few years ago to prevent homeless people from sleeping here. At least that's the Security Director's claim.

The Original Setting

At The Walters Art Museum there had been an elusive exhibition situated at the long since closed Hackerman House. Just inside the entrance to this long condemned extension to the museum these stolen treasures sat.

Guests would constantly ask me "excuse me when is your 'Gold of Ancient Americas' exhibition suppose to come back?" As a former security guard with the institution (that word having more meanings than one on the subject) I was told to "make something up".

Some days I would tell museum guests that the exhibition was on tour with another museum, or that they were only a temporary exhibit and that the guest had missed it by a few months. Whatever mood I was in. Even the visitor services people didn't know. However the truth was the curators were holding the pieces in storage for just such an occasion as this exhibition.

Hackerman House was closed in 2013 for "repairs" as Evander Toney called it. Everything was moved out in order to bring the old building back up to code. However Hackerman House was officially listed as condemned due to issues with electrical work and structural safety. At least that's the story we were told in the Security department. We were told to not mention the mold, and other issues to the public.

The original "Gold of the Ancient Americas" exhibition use to be on the right just as you entered Hackerman House. Now the area is used as storage for art pieces from the permanent collection, or for storage of special exhibition pieces.

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