SACRED METAL: Pictured above is a golden bat figure from Colombia.. INSET: Chloë Sayer, scholar, author and specialist in the art and culture of Latin America.
SACRED METAL: Pictured above is a golden bat figure from Colombia.. INSET: Chloë Sayer, scholar, author and specialist in the art and culture of Latin America. Contributed

How you can discover Gold of the Gods

THE ancient goldsmiths of Peru and Colombia produced some of the most spectacular treasures of South America.

Adept at casting and hammering, they transformed this sacred metal into elaborate pendants and breastplates, ear-ornaments, musical instruments, flasks, human figures, funerary masks, and lifelike representations of birds and animals in colour tones from pale yellow to deepest red.

In her illustrated address to ADFAS Rockhampton on Saturday, May 25, Chloe Sayer of the UK and Canada, will present the wonders produced by these goldsmiths.

Her lecture, "Gold of the Gods: Treasures of South America and the search for El Dorado”, will also touch on the devastating effect the Spanish had on the Peruvian and Colombian cultures in their obsessive quest for gold.

Around 1492, gold was the magnet that lured Spanish conquistadors deep into the heart of Peru and Colombia in search El Dorado, "the Golden One”, initially thought to be a lost city of gold.

Most of the golden treasures the Spaniards found were melted down for bullion.

"Those that survive are great works of sacred art, the awe-inspiring and technically sophisticated creations of once-great cultures,” Ms Sayer said.

Ms Sayer is an independent Spanish-speaking scholar, author and curator, specialising in the art and culture of Latin America.

She has spent many years researching ancient traditions and contemporary craft skills.

In 2016, the Mexican Government awarded her the prestigious Ohtli medal to thank her for her longstanding commitment to Mexican culture.

She has made collections and carried out fieldwork in Mexico and Belize for the British Museum.

Ms Sayer publishes widely, has worked on a number of television documentaries about Mexico and Peru for the BBC and Channel Four, and regularly leads cultural tours to Mexico.

She toured Australia as the guest of ADFAS in 2005, 2010 and 2012, and is delighted to return in 2019.

You can meet Ms Sayer when she presents her Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society lecture at 10.30am on Saturday, May 25 in the Fitzroy Room at Rockhampton Regional Library on Bolsover St in Rockhampton.

Visit adfas.org.au for details.



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