Gold (Tumbaga) and Butterfly Symbolism

Author(s): Elizabeth Baquedano

Year: 2017


When metals were introduced in Mesoamerica ca. AD 850 they were used with both utilitarian and decorative purposes. Copper artifacts were turned into fishing hooks, tweezers, or axes. However, silver and gold were mostly used in jewelry production. Several deities were fashioned in gold as well as animals associated with gods. They included pendants, nose-rings, necklaces, etc. Warriors were also depicted as pendants, and there are examples in discs too. The context where the objects have been found is particularly important. There are good examples of butterflies made to represent fertility goddesses and there are representations of warriors wearing pectorals in the shape of butterflies. This paper will focus on the symbolic importance of butterflies in warfare as well as in agriculture.

Cite this Record

Gold (Tumbaga) and Butterfly Symbolism. Elizabeth Baquedano. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429461)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15892