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Simply entering the Museum is enough notice its magical character. Part of legacy of mysterious cultures of which we only have fragmentary visions is right there in plain sight of visitors.
The little that remained after all the barbarity and looting is exhibited - a treasure many pirates would have dreamt about. Hundreds, millions of pieces that survived the fog of many days and the rust of time lead us to think that these people, our ancestors, should have been named “People of Gold”.
The Bogota Gold Museum contains close to 34,000 gold pieces, plus 20,000 bone, stone, ceramic, and textile articles belonging to 13 Pre-Hispanic societies: Tumaco, Nariño, Cauca, Calima, San Agustín, Tierradentro, Tolima, Quimbaya, Muisca, Urabá and Chocó, Malagana, Zenú, and Tairona.
We are on the first floor, in the Metalworking Hall. Our guide is Juan Osorio. He is a paisa (that is, he comes from either the Café Triangle or the department of Antioquia) who has traded his carriel for an Arhuaco Indian mochila.
He tells us we are entering one of the world’s most important collections of Pre-Hispanic metalwork. And that is exactly what we see when we observe the tools made from iron and copper alloys, the bowls, and the mats.
Juan takes us to the second floor, where we admire the use of metals in the political and religious organization of these peaceful peoples who hunted for their dinner and adored the Sun and the Moon.
On the third floor, in the Cosmogony and Symbolism Hall, when we approach the mentality of these natives, their attires, nose ornaments, pectorals, anthropomorphic diadems, ceramic seals, spindle flyers, and knife grinders amaze us.
We approach The Shamans, forever seated, permanently ecstatic and entranced, when their ears become rattles and feathers appear on their bodies. Perhaps, a long time ago, they dreamt about a future, they saw themselves as eternal and immortal in a timeless museum where people from all over the planet would travel to listen to their message.
We still have to go to The Offering, the space where various elements common to all the cultures are carefully preserved, and to The Exploratorium, a place for youngsters and children can have fun and reflect on the meaning of the Museum. An hour has gone by and Juan bids farewell and asks what we think about the sample. In truth, I confess, as any foreigner would, that it is marvelous… That day I discovered, as all Colombians should have, something to feel proud about, our Gold Museum.