Tairona culture, Pre-Columbian

1000 - 1500

Of all of the animals represented in Pre-Columbian gold from Central America, the vulture and the frog are the most common. Frogs and toads emit secretions that are used by shamans to induce visions, but also as poisons. Frogs can go dormant for long periods during the dry season, appearing to come back from the dead when rains return. They are symbols of fertility, abundance, and transformation. Many frog ornaments actually depict a shaman transforming into a frog or a frog morphing into another animal.