Last Look

Old hat

A Peruvian artifact at the Art Gallery.

Yale University Art Gallery

Yale University Art Gallery

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, especially when it's one as fragile as this thousand-year-old artifact from the Lambayeque region of Peru. Nearly eight inches tall, the crown is made of a gold sheet about as thin as aluminum foil - it cannot support its own weight for display without being propped up. Its specific origin is unknown, but similar objects have been found in Lambayeque royal tombs. It is decorated with what are thought to be warrior figures holding severed heads. The piece, one of nearly 15,700 donated or pledged to the Yale University Art Gallery in the past decade, is a promised gift from Tom Jaffe ’71. It will be given in honor of the late George Kubler ’33, ’40PhD, Sterling Professor of the History of Art, says Jaffe, because Kubler taught "how to look at objects and understand what they meant to the people who made them."

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