After being more than a century in the National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian USA, this piece with high symbolic and cultural value is back in our country, “the Echenique Plate” the pre-Columbian goldsmith work, symbol of the imperial city of Cusco.
This important piece was received by the Peruvian ambassador to the United States, Hugo de Zela, it is a disk that measures about 13.5 centimeters in diameter, 0.4 millimeters thick and is composed of 90% gold, 5 % silver and 5% copper. It is also known as “Sol de Echenique” for having been in the possession of former Peruvian President Jose Rufino Echenique (1851-1855).
It is believed that this important metal plate could have been as an ornament for the chest, although its origin, its purposes and meanings are unknown.
For some scholars of the twentieth century, the images in this piece are related to the Inca calendars, while for Julio C. Tello, the disk represented a “feline solar deity.
The Plaque of Echenique is the symbol and the official shield of Cusco since 1986, under the management of former mayor Daniel Estrada Perez. Who traveled to the United States in order to repatriate this important relic, but did not succeed.
The return procedures began again in 2016 and until now, thanks to an agreement with the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and the government of Peru, it has been able to return for the benefit of the citizens and indigenous communities of Peru.
Since June 2021, this symbol is included in the banner of Cusco, the council of the provincial municipality of Cusco unanimously approved ordinance 08-2021 that modifies and includes the Echenique shield, in the central part of the flag, with the in order to be more representative throughout the region.