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Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

The Getty Center

Nose Ornament with Spiders (detail), 1st century BCE-2nd century CE. Salinar culture. Gold. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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This international loan exhibition showcases spectacular luxury arts from the royal courts of the Maya, Incas, and Aztecs.

This major international loan exhibition explores the idea of luxury in the pre-Columbian Americas, particularly as seen in the associations between materials and meanings, from about 1000 BC to the arrival of Europeans in the early 16th century. The exhibition will trace the development of metallurgy in the Andes and its expansion northward into Mexico. In contrast with people in other parts of the world, ancient Americans first used metals not for weaponry, tools, or coinage but for objects of ritual and ornament, resulting in works of extraordinary creativity. In addition to objects of gold and silver, the exhibition will feature works of art made from shell, jade, and textiles, materials that would have been considered even more valuable than noble metals. The exhibition will cast new light on the most precious works of art from the ancient Americas and provide new ways of thinking about materials, luxury and the visual arts in a global perspective. The exhibition is co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the exhibition will be on display following the Getty’s presentation.

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September 16, 2017 - January 28, 2018


West LA & Valley




Sculpture, Mixed Media, Painting, Prints & Drawing



The Getty Center Website


1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA