Perhaps the most famous ritual performed by pre-Hispanic peoples is that of El Dorado. The piece of pre-Hispanic art that gave rise to the El Dorado legend is the Muisca raft.
The Muisca raft is considered a pre-Hispanic master piece. It was not meant to be an adornment or a sign of status, but an offering to the gods, as a message or request on behalf of the Muisca people. Thus, the raft was buried in a cave.
Unearthed in 1969, it was the physical confirmation of what the Spanish chroniclers had written and heard about: a golden king covered in gold, who would dive deep into a lake before taking his place as heir and new chieftain of the Muisca people. Little they knew that, to indigenous people, gold was a sacred metal, associated with the sun, the source of life on earth, never to be accumulated as wealth.
In their lust fo find gold to finance their crown, the Spanish destroyed, pillaged and slaughtered in the search for the mythical golden king. However, they never got to witness the sacred ritual of the crowning of the Muisca chief.