Pendant with Bird-Headed Figure Artist: Unknown

A.D. 800–1500

Art of the Ancient Americas

The metallurgical arts, especially gold work, established in Costa Rica from as early as the turn of the first millennium A.D., flourished especially after ca. A.D. 500. The Diquis region, encompassing a tract of land in the central latitudes of the modern nation and extending from the Pacific Coast on the west to the Talamanca mountains in the east, was one of the major hubs of Costa Rican gold-working. Excavations of the ancient cemeteries of the region have yielded large quantities of gold jewelry—pendants, bracelets, headbands, and more. The gold work of the Diquis frequently made use of animal forms as decorative motifs. This gold pendant depicts a winged, bird-headed creature clutching its prey, perhaps a fish, in its sharply hooked beak.




10.2 × 10 × 3 cm, 0.17 kg (4 × 3 15/16 × 1 3/16 in., 0.37 lb.)

Credit Line

The Harold A. Strickland, Jr., Collection

Accession Number



Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Laurence C. and Cora Witten; Spencer Throckmorton;. Harold A. Strickland, Jr.; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 194, 385–86, pl. 180, ill
  • "Acquisitions, 1998," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1999), 200–201, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

mythology, pendants (jewelry)


birds (animals)

Technical metadata and APIs


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