< Back to Permanent Exhibition

Gold and Silver Chimú Vessel

Room 8, Vitrine 95

Gold, silver and copper
Raising, surface enrichment and engraving
Northern coast of Peru
Imperial Epoch (1300 AD – 1532 AD)

This vessel symbolizes the duality and coming together of opposing yet complementary forces. Gold represents the sun, daytime, the dry season and maleness. Silver represents the moon, nighttime, the rainy season and femaleness.

  • This vessel is made from a single piece of gold-silver-copper alloy. The gold and silver appearance was achieved through surface enrichment, a technique which makes it possible to create the appearance of gold and silver in objects which are mostly copper.
  • The gold and silver surfaces meet at the middle of the body of a deity depicted on the base of the vessel. This figure wears a crown decorated with step motifs that symbolize the connection between the underworld and the celestial world. The same figure is repeated several times around the main body of the vessel.
  • The design on the vessel is achieved using the technique of engraving.