South American ‘model aeroplanes’

One of the supposed aeroplane gold models
One of the supposed aeroplane gold models

A number of curious gold ornaments from Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Venezuela have been interpreted by some as model aeroplanes after the Scottish Fortean Ivan Terrance Sanderson (1911-1973), founder of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the United States, saw a reproduction of a Colombian example. The original object had been part of a travelling exhibition organised by the Colombian government in 1954, as a result of which the jeweller Emmanuel Staubs was commissioned to make reproductions of six of the objects. The reproduction that caught Sanderson’s attention was only 50 mm long and had been made to hang from a necklace. The top end (which Sanderson identified as the tail fin of the aeroplane) had a mark on one side that he thought resembled an early Hebrew letter ב (beth).

The original pendants are of Chimú origin and are generally classed as zoömorphic types, with the majority resembling winged insects, birds, bats and stingrays. The Chimú (or Mochica) culture flourished in South America between about 200 BCE and 800 CE. Chimú gold ornaments of this type show considerable variation. Taking one object out of context, as Ivan Sanderson did, is disingenuous and borders on dishonesty. The variability shown by these pendants does not mask their origins as highly stylised representations of winged creatures.

7 Replies to “South American ‘model aeroplanes’”

  1. Please do your homework, it is not just one with a vertical tailfin. Maybe you could stretch it to represent some kind of fish ? There is no telling what it represents. We need to know a lot more before we can judge one way or the other

    1. To get straight to the point, I do not believe in the Ancient Astronaut theory. Mr Christ White has attempted a thorough Debunking of the theory but has failed to address the Quimbaya aircraft models correctly, as have legions of his Disciples that have bought into his efforts in that regard. Not one of the attempts to debunk these model aircraft have presented an argument that will hold up to close examination…not one!
      There is not an artist of any caliber, sculptor or otherwise, attempting to convey the concept of a fish, that has failed to include in his effort either a Dorsal Fin, or a Caudal Fin (Vertical tailfin extending below the belly of said fish) Not one in history that an extensive search has turned up. Any argument for these model craft being those of fish must include one or the other, or the argument falls flat on it’s face before it has begun. There is only one of these figurines pictured for comparison that has a Dorsal fin, and a Caudal fin as seen here:
      There is one other having a Dorsal fin, but is pictured as possessing a horizontal tail Fluke.
      The eyes and teeth found on nearly all these model aircraft are far from sealing the deal for them being considered fish as it has proven to be something men have chosen to do on their Warbirds since the earliest days of fixed wing, powered flight until the present day.

      This image grouping clearly shows an aircraft model in the center with a nose Canard that looks like a giant propeller, but is in fact a design feature of Aircraft.
      This sculptor of this model clearly chose to display a knowledge of how a wingtip Vortex forms in-flight by the designs he porposely ‘cut’ into the wings

      Of course testing the concept of hi-lift features found on these models was best demonstrated by Dave Herbert’s reproduction, even as primitive as it is.
      At minute 6:40

      The redundancy of these design features found on virtually every model is overwhelming. These are model aircraft.

  2. I am currently travelling in Australia and have recently seen a type of ray that superficially resembles this object. Could it be a representation of a South American species of guitarfish or Shovelnose Ray?

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