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February Lecture–Orlando Hernández Ying

February 7, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


“Castilla del Oro” and the Regional Evolution and Dissemination of Ancient Indigenous Metallurgic Iconography in the Isthmo-Colombian Area.

Orlando Hernández Ying, Curatorial Associate, Hispanic Society Museum & Library

Gold Eagle Pendant, 11th-16th century, Panama. Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Abstract: “Castilla del Oro” was the name that Spanish settlers gave to the Central American territories from the gulf of Urabá in Colombia to the Belén River, in present-day Panamá. Stylistic similarities in the gold-copper casting along the Caribbean coasts of Colombia, Panamá, and Costa Rica, as well as in the West Indies, shed light on the seafaring vocation of Amerindian societies. This re-contextualization of the subject matter allows us to infer that the dissemination of the technical aspects of metallurgy traveled intimately intertwined with iconographic traditions that evidence traces of a pan-regional cultural exchange of cosmological ideas. This research aims at recreating the visual language and symbolism of these gold ornaments as they evolve and disseminate throughout the Isthmo-Colombian Area.

Examples from the collection in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art provide a unique opportunity to compare firsthand these enigmatic ornaments from the various cultures that inhabited the region.

About the speaker: Dr. Orlando Hernández Ying has dedicated over 20 years to museums and higher education. In his native Panama, Dr. Hernández was the head curator of the Anthropology Museum (MARTA) and held the position of National Coordinator of Museums where he oversaw 18 museums across the country. His trajectory in the U.S. includes collaborations with MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dallas Art Museum, the Walters Museum, and the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Hernández Ying has taught at NYU, CUNY, Tulane University, and the National University of Panama. His academic training includes an MA in Museum Studies from NYU and a doctoral degree in Art History & Criticism from the Graduate Center City University of New York.

Dr. Hernández Ying is currently a Curatorial Associate at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library and simultaneously, has been conducting stylistic research on the metallurgy of the Ancient Americas. His recent essay “In the Absence of the Written Word: Ancient Gold in the Isthmo-Colombian Area”, is included in Michelle Rich. Ed. The Arts of the Ancient Americas at the Dallas Museum of Art (2023).

Thursday, February 7, 2023

6:00 pm  EST

Hybrid LECTURE (in person and via Zoom)

Institute of Fine Arts–NYU

1 East 78th Street, New York, NY





February 7, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Pre-Columbian Society of New York


Institute of Fine Arts–NYU
1 E. 78th Street
New York, United States
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