The River of Gold and the Flow of Power: Death and



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This thesis compares the iconography of gold objects from the Mixtec of Mexico and the Panamanian Coclé civilizations. It focuses on the construction of authority and dominance through iconographic statements involving communication with the supernatural and gender symbolism, as well as the ritual function of golden adornment in these communications. In terms of gender symbolism, the thesis is especially interested in female iconography in precious metals, and how these symbols are utilized by male spiritual authorities at the highest echelons of society. The idea that metalworking traditions were transmitted into Mexico through the Panamanian isthmus is not new. However, could the cultural significance of gold objects as burial items, and the gender imagery they were associated with, have been transmitted along with crafting methods? I hope to raise these questions again and add to the discussion with specific art historical arguments on metal iconography and gender roles.



Gold, Ancient America, Cocle, Mixtec, Panama, Mexico, Sitio Conte, Monte Alban, Monte Alban Tomb 7, Gender, Authority