jewellery and ornaments

In all cultures, man has practiced the art of jewellery, thereby combining appearance and ceremony.

The attention given to the preparation of objects, the taste for precious materials and the refinement of the motifs bear witness to a fascination with appearances as an indicator of a specific status and a certain opulence.

Generally, this jewellery is emblematic of a form of social authority. But it can also play a role as a protector against adversity depending on the materials used in its making and the accompanying symbols. It is most often a bearer of vital energy.


  • War Charm

  • Woman's Headdress

  • Chieftain's Helmet

  • Male Ear Ornament

  • Pendant

  • Forehead Ornament

  • Men's Chignon Comb

  • Pendant

  • Element of Woman's Headdress: Part That Covers

  • Pendant Worn On the Back

  • Face Veil

  • Anthropomorphic Appliqué Jewelry

  • Necklace

  • Pendant

  • Bird Necklace

  • Hairpin

  • Frontal Headdress (known as "hat of the clan")

  • Large Dance Headdress

  • Feather Headdress

  • Male Figurine

  • Bark Apron

Male Figurine

Male Figurine

Male Figurine, Peruvian Incan Culture, 1450 - 1532 A.D., silver, encrusted colored paste, Gift M. Le Moyne, 71.1887.114.90

The Incan empire saw its greatest expansion from 1450 to 1532. At that time, the Chimú goldsmiths from Peru's northern coast, who were reputed to be the most skilled during their time, were requisitioned by the Incan authorities to come to work in the State's metal works shops. In spite of a significant amount of production, few Incan pieces worked from gold have come into our possession because they were melted down by the Conquistadors so they could send gold back to Spain.This production included small figurines made from sheets of silver or gold that were hammered out and soldered. They were representations of personalities of either sex, or of camels.They were presented as offerings at burial grounds and sanctuaries, or at holy grounds in nature, such as caves, water springs, and mountain peaks. This male figurine, with a band around the head, also wears, stuck into the lobes of its piereced and stretched out ears, large circular ornaments reserved for men who were Incan nobles. Because of this deformation, which was a sign of high status, the Spaniards nicknamed the nobles "orejones (men with big ears)." At first, this kind of statuette was probably adorned with miniature outfits, such as were in style at the time, like cloaks, feathered headdresses and coca bags. These outfits have only reached us in a rare number of cases.