Friday, January 5, 2018

YOLO visits Bogota Museo de Oro Jan 2018

We took a break from the heat of Cartagena and headed to Bogota to play tourist for a week or so.  The flights and room, with breakfast included were very cheap, especially for the high season over the holidays.  We had the whole 12th floor to ourselves--the only room on the floor.  This is the view of lots of high rises as we flew into Bogota airport.  The city has over 8 million people!
With the help of kindly strangers, we managed to get to our hotel via the bus system here, the Trans Milenio.  Buses are the cheapest and fastest transport around this city.  Taxis here are slow and expensive.  They have dedicated bus lanes and some of the articulated buses are three buses long.  You can ride as far as you want at any one time, including transfers, for less than $1.  This is one of the triple articulated ones.

The historical buildings in Bogota are mostly old brick and sandstone, so this colorful church caught my eye as we walked around town the first day.
 The big tourist draw here is the Museo de Oro, the Gold Museum.  It's reported to be the biggest gold museum in the world and we spent time looking at the amazing displays of the old artifacts.  You just can't imagine all this old gold!  This is a large sea shell that the ancients covered in gold.  The shell has deteriorated but the gold remains.
 Some of these gold breastplates are as big as dinner plates.  Very detailed designs, too.
 This gold pouch was used to hold the lime needed when chewing coca leaves for ceremonies.  It's saucer sized at least.
 Big hollow earrings were a remarkable work of goldsmithing thousands of years ago.
 Figures were a common theme, and came in many sizes.
 A golden helmet.
 Breastplate with designs.
 The sculpting in gold was often done with lost wax methods and some of the pieces were fitted together after making them separately.
 A close up photo of repairs the ancients made to a woven piece of gold.  They got very fine threads of gold and wrapped the broken bits and sewed it back together again.  They also used gold rivets and loops and pins to repair delicate work.
 What detail in these recovered pieces.  Many of the fabulous pieces came from recovered funerary pots or graves.  The dead were buried with their treasures.
 They have also recovered tons of gold and gems from Lake Guatavita, where the ancients used to toss the gold and gems into the lake as offerings to their gods and to thank them for prosperity and just to return the items to the earth.
 I can't imagine how heavy this necklace of gold must be.
 Faces were covered in gold masks when people died and were buried, at least the higher echelons of the society were.
 How's this for a smiley face?
 The same designs were repeated in many sizes. This one represents a man.
 This wonderful piece is about a foot in height.  The gourd with the golden top was used to hold lime, a necessary accompaniment to coca leaves to get the best effect.  The long gold pick was used to dip the lime out of the container.
 This sitting man figure is missing a few pieces, but you still can tell how detailed the depiction was at one time.
 These filigree earrings seemed to be very popular.
 Breast plates for women, with the mounds sized for the wearer.
 The shadow represents a body with the gold and other jewelry placed appropriately on the 'body' as it would've been worn.
 Bats were a common design.  They believed that the wearer would gain the abilities and insights of the animal of the design.  Notes from the displays:
"The image of the bat, lord of the night and the underworld... was portrayed on stone pendants, whistles, and pottery vessels."  "When he is transformed into a bat and jaguar, man evokes and merges the powers, knowledge and habits of these two animals, and reveals the secrets of life and death."  These are stylized bats. Brother Jim would have plenty of company in his Batman fan club here.  We see lots of Batman t-shirts.
This may be a jaguar; perhaps I need to chew a few coca leaves to get the designs figured out.  Still gorgeous.
 This pottery bowl depicts a burial spot.  People were laid with their feet towards the center and the gold and treasures were put into the middle.
 This piece was a special one, in a lighted glass case.  Many heads and bird beaks.  You had to look at it from different angles to see it all.
 Clusters of small gold pieces make up the breast plates here.
 A mummified remains from a burial chamber.
 This mask is special in it detail.  An amazing piece of gold work.
 Even with all the gold, it was feathers that were reserved for high priests and royalty.  Even the common folk wore gold, but colored feathers were special.
 These feather headdresses were reserved for the highest ranking members of society.
 Another female shadow body with the gold pieces placed appropriately.
 This person may have been part of a detailed display.  So much fine work.
 Another one of the statues that has to be viewed from front and side to see it all.
 I really liked the sea shells made of gold.  They sometimes used them to hold the lime, which was often other crushed shells.
A collection of lime stick picks.
 Another fantastic mask.
 Jaguar claw necklace in gold, a fashion piece we all need.
 A jaguar mask.
 Gold figure stick pins.  The ingenuity and craftsmanship of these items in gold just blew us away.
 No, this isn't 'Batman Visits Bogota', but rather another body with gold pieces applied where they belonged.  This one has a groin cover that points out.  Different...
 We were drawn into a dark room, where a special exhibit was revealed in pieces.  Lights turned off and on to display the massive collection of pieces all around in the walls and in a pit in the center.
 We were surrounded by gold pieces suspended in the walls.
 Birds, bats, earrings, and many other shapes came to light as the presentation ensued.  At the end, you could see much of it still lit.  That's Jason standing in awe.

 The pit in the center had so many layers, the camera simply couldn't focus.  It was at least 3-4' across and at least that many levels deep.
 I'm so bummed that I cut off the head of the king on this golden raft.  The people on this raft are taking the cacique (a king person) out to the middle of the lake to throw gold and gems into the lake to return the treasures to the earth, from whence they came. The king would've been covered in gold dust to rinse off into the lake, too.  This is the iconic piece in the museum for its age, its incredible detail (even leaves on the palm pole), and the fact that it was recovered from the bottom of the lake in this condition.  It is displayed in its own room, but there was a tour group that hogged up all the space in the room so I couldn't get close enough to get a good photo.  No flash photos are allowed in the museum, but it's so good that they allow photos at all.  Anyway, this Museo de Oro is a "must see" for anyone coming to Colombia.  It. Is. Amazing!

No comments: