SAm 07889

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Relief plate

Americas, Peru, Pachacamac

Prior to 1913

Bronze, cast

Fritz Buck (author, jewelry merchant)

Purchased by the museum from Buck in 1913

SAm 07889

This brass plate in the form of a pendant shows reliefs with a representation of the sun, two snakes, and an anthropomorphic figure.

In museums in Europe there are hundreds of such pendants and figurines made of metal. Many come from the same molds. The motifs are often clearly attributable to the 19th century: The culture of remembrance after the war between Chile and Peru/Bolivia (1879–1883) used the return to the Incas to construct a Peruvian national identity. In this context, representations of the sun (often with a face, as here) became popular, although  they are not to be found in this way in ancient Inca art.

In the absence of more precise iconographic and archaeological knowledge, contemporary artisans and forgers began to produce objects that either resembled Inca motifs or, in some cases, directly simulated Inca origins. These so-called "neo-antiquities" thus shaped a new style of art that was both market-oriented and served the need for a national cultural identity.

Frank Usbeck