This piece is 19,5 centimetres long, 10,1 wide
and 10,2 high was found, together with another important votive
figure, at the beginning of 1969 by three peasants in a ceramic
container inside a small cave in the high barren plateau in
the municipality of Pasca, towards the South of Bogotá.
Why the best piece of this culture discovered until was now
was presented as an offer there? Maybe because it is one of
the borders of the Muisca culture in the direction of one of
the cardinal or cosmogonic points.
We have to say that the Muisca Raft was known
by studious people in the world one century before it was discovered.
In fact, this mythical object was preceded by another similar
one, weighing 162 grams. The raft was found in the Siecha lake
in 1856 and was unveiled in 1883 by Liborio Zerda in his book
El Dorado. Zerda published a print of the Siecha offering
and interpreted it as a representation of the ceremony described
for Guatavita. His book, which continued the interest on the
Muiscas conveyed by the Baron of Humboldt, made an impact on
the scholars of Colombia and Europe at the time. One of the
big museums in the world fought for a long time to include it
as the most memorable object of the American continent; but
when the Siecha raft travelled, legally at the time, to Germany,
it was lost for the world in a big fire when the ship carrying
it caught fire in the port of Bremen.
In Pasca when the rumour spread on the discovery
of an object made of gold, the parson immediately understood
its importance as a heritage for all and he began, even from
his pulpit, the defence against illegal exportation. The Gold
Museum acquired the Muisca Raft in April that same year, and
since then it has been exhibited in the premises in Bogotá.
It has never left the country, not even with the approximately
200 temporary exhibits the Museum has prepared to show our heritage
to the astounded eyes of the world.
The ceramic container holding this discovery
is definitely less famous. It has the shape of a shaman sitting
in a thinking position, resting his chin on his hand, and is
quite unlike the most repeated standard in the Muisca ceramic
The raft was cast in one sole piece using the
lost wax technique in a clay mould. It is made of extremely
pure gold (over 80%) with native silver and copper alloy. It
is impossible to determine the exact date it was manufactured,
but very possibly it belongs to the late period of the Muisca
culture between 1.200 and 1.500 AD. Pasca, together with Guatavita,
was populated with craftsmen, and therefore it is even likely
that this extraordinary piece was manufactured there.
natural Laguna de Guatavita
the Gold Museum Exhibition
Priests, Captains and Criers
Life and Offerings