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Bird effigy staff head

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Cast metal alloy staff head depicting two long-billed birds with curled crests of feathers. The lack of tranish and silvery color of the metal suggests an alloy containing tin and a small amount of gold. See 23.451 for a similar metal alloy.


According to a note in the file: from a river burial, lower Cauca River Valley, in the vicinity of Medellín, Colombia. with Walter Channing Wyman, Chicago(?), by 1923; to MFA, October 1923, purchased as part of a group of 8 pieces for $650.00.

Credit Line

Harriet Otis Cruft Fund

Zenú (Sinú), A.D. 500–1550

Object Place

Sucre and Cordoba Departments, Colombia


5.2 x 3.6 x 4.7 cm (2 1/16 x 1 7/16 x 1 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold alloy




Ritual Objects