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Chimu (?), Late Intermediate Period
1100-1470 CE
38.1 cm x 3.1 cm (15 in. x 1 1/4 in.)

Not on view


This elegantly simple feather may have functioned as a golden plume put it into a headdress. Plumes of different style were features of some Chimu headdresses as seen in crowns of museum collections. The two holes near the base of this plume suggest it once had and attachment or was itself fixed to something else.

This object is a single pieces of gold, hammered out from a solid bar or rod. The thickness of the long, flat portion of plume of the object shows little variation along its full length being a thin, uniform metal sheet. No facets left by hammer blows are evident. The highly reflective surface has been planished and polished smooth. The stem, roughly circular in cross section, does retain the long facets left by a planishing tool.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1947 Indigenous Art of the Americas: Collection of Robert Woods Bliss. National Gallery of Art; Smithsonian institution, Washington, D.C., p. 30, 140, cat. 140.

Bliss, Robert Woods 1957 Pre-Columbian Art: The Robert Woods Bliss Collection. Text and Critical Analyses by S. K. Lothrop, Joy Mahler and William F. Foshag. Phaidon, New York. p. 276, cat. 323, pl. CXXXII.

Boone, Elizabeth Hill (ED.) 1996 Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks; No. 1. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C. vol. 1, p. 293-4, pl. 84.

Herring, Adam 2015 Art and Vision in the Inca Empire: Andeans and Europeans at Cajamarca. Cambridge University Press, New York. p. 148, fig. 63.

Exhibition History
"Indigenous Art of the Americas", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, November 1950 to July 1962.

"Flights of Fancy: Birds in Pre-Columbian Art" Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 10/1/2009 - 2/28/2010.

Acquisition History
Purchased from Walram von Schoeler, New York (dealer), by Robert Woods Bliss, 1949.

Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art, Washington, DC, 1949-1962.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.