Extraordinary Pre-Columbian Gold & Terracotta in Antwerp

The world-class Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts Collection of pre-Columbian gold jewellery, terracotta and other items is on display in the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp, Belgium.  The collection demonstrates the importance of private collectors in assembling important collections for future scholarship and appreciation.

Only in 2006 was it confirmed that the collection would be given to the Flemish Government. The new museum, housed in a modern, purpose-built, multi-storey building in Antwerp’s rejuvenated docklands in the city’s north has taken over the collections of the city’s old Maritime Museum, the Museum of Folklore, and the Museum of Ethnology. The top floor of the building houses the Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts Collection in its entirety.

The quality of what is on display almost defies description. Some of the most elaborate examples of pre-Columbian gold jewellery is to be seen – not just a handful of examples but dozens of exceptional pieces – as well as the highest quality terracotta vessels, all in exceptional condition. A visit to this museum to see this collection justifies a trip to Antwerp alone should you be in Belgium. It is truly outstanding.

See below the exterior of the museum, and a selection of some of the Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts Collection. Importantly, the entire collection is on display in the museum.

There is a catalogue on the collection: Valgaeren, A. et al, Life and Death on the Upper and Underworld: With the Paul and Dora-Arts Collection, BAI/MAS Books, 2012.



Above: Gold pendant, Tairona culture, Colombia, 500-1600AD


Above: Gold pendant, Zenu culture, Colombia, 150BC-1600AD


Above: Shaman-shaped terracotta vessel, Nasca culture, 100BC-100AD


Above: Gold pectoral, Tairona culture, Colombia, 500-1600AD


Above: Maya Culture flint, Honduras/Guatemala, 250-900AD


Above: Gold ear spools, Chimu culture, Peru, 1100-1470


Above: Gold animal figure, Uraba culture, Colombia-Panama, 500-1600AD


Above: Terracotta figure of a man with a pestle and mortar, Jalisco culture, West Mexico, 300BC-300CE


Above: Gold ear ornaments, Tairona culture, Colombia, 500-1600AD


Above: Terracotta vessel, Olmec culture, central Mexico, 1200-400BC


Above: Jade necklace, Maya, Mexico, 250-900AD


Above: Gold pendant, Cocle region, Panama, 700-1520AD


Above: Terracotta warrior, Veracruz culture, Mexico, 400-900AD


Above: Gold head ornament, Nasca culture, Peru, 100BC-600AD


Above: Gold rattle pendant, Costa Rica or Panama, 700-1520AD


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