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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Panamanian

Breast plate thirteenth century

RCIN 49997

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Breastplates or pendants like this have been discovered in a grave near the Panama Canal; this example could date from as early as AD 700. The piece is said to have been found in the ‘Choco’ region (present-day Colombia), but no detailed information is available about its origins. The pendant is an alloy of gold and copper known as tumbaga, which was used in pre-Colombian Central America. 

This piece is likely to have been worn as a large pendant suspended from a necklace. It would have been buried with its illustrious owner after death.

It was presented to Queen Elizabeth II by President José Cantera of Panama on the occasion of her Coronation, 2 June 1953.