This landmark exhibition of luxury arts of the Incas, the Aztecs, and their predecessors traces the emergence and florescence of goldworking in the ancient Americas, from its earliest appearance in the Andes to its later developments farther north in Central America and Mexico.
In the ancient Americas, metalworking developed in the context of ritual and regalia, rather than for tools, weapons, or currency. Golden Kingdoms reveals the distinctive ways ancient Americans used not only metals, but also jade, shell, and feathers—materials often considered more valuable than gold. Bringing together newly discovered archaeological finds and masterpieces from major museums in Latin America, Europe, and the United States, this exhibition casts new light on these ancient civilizations and their place within world history.
Golden Kingdoms focuses on specific places and times—crucibles of innovation, moments of exceptional achievement in the arts—to explore how materials were selected and transformed, imbued with meaning, and deployed in the most important rituals of their time. This unprecedented exhibition features more than three hundred works from fifty-two lenders in twelve countries.