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2015- Rainforest Revisit -Part Two - The Gold Museum

The First Goal

2015 August 9 Gold Museum

When we were in San Jose in 1996, the Gold Museum was closed on Monday and we were only in San Jose on Monday. So this time, I made sure we were in San Jose durineek when it would be open. Now it is open every day.

We went to breakfast, which was a buffet.
Bob at the buffet

Bob at the buffet


They had coffee, tea (hot), two kinds of juice and water, eggs cooked to order,
fruit

fruit


Selection of bread and rolls

Selection of bread and rolls


pico gallo

pico gallo


stewed bananas

stewed bananas


fish

fish


sausage

sausage


ham, cheese

ham, cheese


and bread to toast. I had a banana, a piece of pineapple, an egg over easy, tea and a few rolls.
Eggs, potato, sweet biscuit and pineapple

Eggs, potato, sweet biscuit and pineapple


After we ate, I saw that the man was now at the tourist information desk at the front near the gift shop so I asked him some questions.
outside of the gift shop and bar

outside of the gift shop and bar


I thought he said that the hop on hop off bus was only $9.00 so I filed that idea away for future reference. He said the Gold Museum and the National Theatre were just three blocks straight down the street. So we went back to the room and re-organized. I tried to get my GPS and my phone in a little bum bag but it was a struggle. So I stuffed two water bottles, an umbrella, a raincoat, the GPS and my phone in my pocketbook. We took the GPS outside to see if it would get the satellites, and eventually it did. We set off with me on the scooter to go the three blocks to the Gold Museum which the internet said opened at 9:00 (half an hour before when the internet said was the opening for the National Theatre).
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Passing the park on my scooter - San José

Passing the park on my scooter - San José


San Jose is not a very mobility device friendly city. When there are ramps, they are quite steep and often have a curb of asphalt at the end. (From re-paving the streets and not redoing the sidewalk.) Also the street we were on had a lot of large paving stones which are very jolty.
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Occasionally there would be a street with no ramps at all and Bob would have to lift the scooter into the street and then back onto the sidewalk on the other side. But we persisted. And we got to the Plaza of Culture, which was where the Gold Museum was underground..
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Ventilation stacks for the Gold museum

Ventilation stacks for the Gold museum


Looking down into the plaza from the street

Looking down into the plaza from the street


metal sculpture outside the Gold Museum which was there in 1996

metal sculpture outside the Gold Museum which was there in 1996


..and went down the ramp arriving about 9:05.
The Gold Museum, is the country’s only underground construction, and was designed specifically to accommodate a museum. Shaped like an inverted pyramid, it has three architectural levels (with elevators) that reach a depth of 12 meters below street level. The construction materials for this building include concrete for the walls, Costa Rican marble for the floors, and rain tree (cenízaro) for the handrails (the rain tree is a precious Costa Rican wood currently considered an endangered species). In addition, the exhibition gallery floors are made of small pieces of sura or tall guava, another semiprecious Costa Rican wood.
Vehicle ramp down to the plaza

Vehicle ramp down to the plaza


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And it wasn't open. The internet had said 9:00, but the sign at the museum said 9:15. Now, it is apparently open every day from 9:15 to 5:00. The first Wednesday of every month the hours are 11:00 to 5:00 and local residents get in free on those days. It was just as well because Bob was having trouble taking photos -- it took us a little while but the problem was that he had it set on the timer setting instead of single photo. By the time we figured it out, it was 9:15.
El Museo del Oro Precolombino «Álvaro Vargas Echeverría (sign)

El Museo del Oro Precolombino «Álvaro Vargas Echeverría (sign)


The gate guard had four padlocks to remove from the gate, and we went in. Bob got the tickets (more for non-ticos of course - $11 each for us)
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and then he had to go through security. I didn't. There was no way I could have done it anyway - they just waved me around the metal detector. They said we could take photos without flash. Flash doesn't work that well for stuff in glass cases anyway. The museum was very interesting - it takes up Costa Rican life where the Jade Museum leaves off - about 800 A.D. (so if possible - do the Jade Museum first). There were 1,600 pieces of pre-Columbian gold dating from 500 to 1500 AD. They also had large life sized models showing how the gold would have been worn and how the gold was used in the life of the indigenous people.

The exhibits included the various ways of working the gold. The technological complexity of producing metal objects meant that metallurgy required the participation of multiple artisans in the manufacturing process. The exact division of labor is not known, but it is likely that some workers collected raw materials and others provided fuel supplies and maintained the ovens at the proper temperature: all working in coordination with the gold Artisans. Knowledge provided by pottery specialists or their direct participation in making cores, was of particular importance to the metallurgical technology developed by these societies. Within pre-Hispanic metallurgy, casting accounted for the majority of the objects.
Artisans smelting the gold

Artisans smelting the gold


Hammered gold

Hammered gold


The gold items were mostly smaller than the ones we saw in Peru but the animals were more realistic. You could easily wear a lot of them as gold charms
Small realistic gold figures

Small realistic gold figures


Spaniards coming to take the gold

Spaniards coming to take the gold


Gold in the Gold Museum

Gold in the Gold Museum

Exhibit at the Gold Museum

Exhibit at the Gold Museum


I think Bob and I saw totally different things. He went to the music section
parts of instruments

parts of instruments


instruments

instruments


Musical instruments

Musical instruments


Music after 'contact' (with the Spaniards)

Music after 'contact' (with the Spaniards)


Bob also did the burial section.
Women's activities

Women's activities


Traditionally indigenous women have performed important functions in ritual activities. Before taking up these functions a woman must pass through a training process overseen by female specialists, a process which includes fasting sessions and learning the sacred stories. In funeral ceremonies among the Bribri, one woman is in charge of preparing the chocolate drink and organizing the other women in making the chicha (fermented maize liquor) and the food consumed over the days of the ritual. Documentary sources from the sixteenth century confirm that women were chieftains, healers and warriors. In indigenous groups today, women continue to fulfill specific roles within birth and death rituals...Preparing the corpse was the first in a series of ritual actions necessary for a proper burial. The complexity of these funerary activities required made the participation of trained specialists essential to the rite. The person who arranged the body or bones in packages, the singers, the dancers, and the master of ceremonies these were all specialized hierarchical offices.
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Burial practices

Burial practices


I spent some time at the rain forest display with little gold animals in a case. You were to pick the animal and the gold figure that went with it and if you pressed both buttons at the same time, a floodlight would light up that animal.
Buttons to push to light up the models

Buttons to push to light up the models


Deer lit up

Deer lit up


Jaguar, bat, toucan, and loro bird to match

Jaguar, bat, toucan, and loro bird to match


One of my favorite parts of these exhibits was about the Healers. The exhibit had the older man seated in the hammock instructing a younger man who isn't in my photo. The sign said Healers were the specialists charged with performing rites of healing, which were sessions of singing or chanting in which various objects and medicinal plants were used. This ancient tradition constitutes the most active legacy among indigenous peoples. In most cases the role of healer is the only traditional leadership post which continues to be fill to the present day. Shamans enjoyed great prestige and power in their communities. Their sacred character stemmed from their extensive knowledge of ancestral history and myths. One of their functions was to control the economic and political activities of their people. Furthermore, Shamans carried out rituals which enabled them to ascend to higher planes of reality and enter into contact with supernatural forces with whom they interceded in order to assure the welfare of the community of of an individual.
Shaman-Healer

Shaman-Healer


Warriors "When the Indians go to battle...they wear large seashells...and certain gold ornaments in particular some large pieces on their heads and other parts of their persons... in addition to this they have rings of gold in their ears and in their nose hanging over their lower face." Account of Gonzalo Ferndindex de Oviedo, sixteenth century Spanish chronicler.
Warriors

Warriors


There were also the inevitable pre-Columbian objects of pottery and stone, from different geographical regions of the country: vessels in various forms, objects, statues and utensils, used in the daily and ceremonial life of the people. Some of the pottery even depicted women
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rattle-human figure with a headdress

rattle-human figure with a headdress


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After we finished up with the gold, we skipped the money section,
Jaime Solera Bennett Numismatics Museum

Jaime Solera Bennett Numismatics Museum


and went back up to the top floor and looked at the gift shop where they sold coffee, mugs and clothing items.
Gold museum shop

Gold museum shop

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Then we went back up the ramp to the street level
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Posted by greatgrandmaR 00:00 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged museum gold

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