Beyond El Dorado: power and gold in ancient Colombia
Organised with Museo del Oro, Bogotá and on show at the British Museum from 17 October 2013 – 23 March 2014

 

The myths of El Dorado

For centuries Europeans were dazzled by the legend of El Dorado – literally ‘the golden one’. Many different stories were told of El Dorado – sometimes it was imagined as a lost city of gold, sometimes as a man covered in powdered gold who plunged into the middle of Lake Guatavita (near modern Bogotá). The exhibition uncovers the fascinating truth behind some of these myths. Unlike in Europe, gold was not valued as currency in pre-Hispanic Colombia. Instead it had great symbolic meaning, facilitating all kinds of social and spiritual transformations. It was one way the elite could publicly assert their rank, both in life and in death.

Details here.