Kogi Men, Women and Keeping Gold in the Earth
ON CARING- A KOGI BOY'S LESSON ON WOMEN: ‘ When you have a wife you have to look after her, you have to make clothes for her, you mustn't ever harm her or treat her badly…you should build your own house and live separately with your wife, you can’t go on living with the other boys. Bring her food, bring her meat, buy her chickens and pigs so she eats well. Give her animals and when you go off to collect firewood come back quickly. Don't wander about looking for other women. You've got your own woman and you have to look after her and work for her.’
ABOUT GOLD: Tairona gold work combines a technical mastery of casting with a fine love of detail. Most gold work belongs to the final centuries before the Spanish Conquest, but some goes back to the sixth and seventh centuries AD. The Tairona attitude to gold is different from ours. Gold was seen as a gift to be enhanced by man’s skill. It could be shaped into an ornament but had to be returned to its source. Gold pieces were hung on trees as offerings. Gold was considered to carry the mystery of life from Aluna into matter.
‘The mother bled. She had her period. She was fertile, and the world was fertile. Her blood is gold. It remains in the earth. It is fertility. Gold and water, blood and water are necessary for the life of things.
The World is like a person. Robbing tombs, stealing its gold, it will die. We don’t take out the earth’s gold. We know that it is there, but we do not take it. We know from our divinations that the advice of the mother is not to take the gold. We know where it is, but we decide only to make offerings to it. All our gold pieces and stone beads should live in pots but now they are scattered. Imagine if you were thrown out of your home and had to sleep outside…..Younger brother does not think about that any more, he only destroys.’