Plaque with Crocodile Deity
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
In Panama, the crocodile god, likely associated with strength, the sun, water, and fertility, was the principal deity for more than a thousand years. The ruling elite probably wore prestige ornaments such as this one to imbue themselves with the power of crocodiles, fierce animals connected to the underworld for their ability to float on water and drag their prey underneath to drown it. The crocodilian being on this plaque may be a creator god or a transformative image of the wearer.
8 1/2 x 9 in. (21.6 x 22.9 cm)
mount (Support board prepared in 2012): 10 1/2 x 11 x 1 1/4 in. (26.7 x 27.9 x 3.2 cm) (show scale)
Museum Expedition 1931, Museum Collection Fund
Plaque of hammered gold with an embossed anthropomorphic reptilian figure representing the Crocodile God. Similar figures also appear on painted pottery and cast goldwork. The six pierced holes indicate that it was probably attached to a garment.
Condition: good; there are small tears along the edges and in the interior, but all are stable. The six pierced holes have jagged edges and there are concentrated burnishing marks in the repoussé.
Coclé. Plaque with Crocodile Deity, ca. 700-900. Gold, 8 1/2 x 9 in. (21.6 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1931, Museum Collection Fund, 33.448.12. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 33.448.12_SL1.jpg)
overall, 33.448.12_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.