... were richly decorated with bas-reliefs with inlays of precious stones and statues of solid gold. This profusion of gold and jewels has indeed given rise to the myth of the "golden man" or Eldorado, based on local custom: a powerful lord was coated with gold dust, before swimming in the sacred lake in which he threw precious gold items, as an offering to the Sun God.
Thus the gold - the symbol of the Sun God - was exploited by leaders and members of the elite, not as a currency but mainly for decorative purposes and rituals. The famous Sun Temple in Cuzco is a good example. Standing in the center of the capital, this building (which have been recently restored) was considered to be the most sacred place of the Mayan empire.This temple was the theater of the most important ceremonies of the rulers: weddings,coronations, funerals. This is where their mummies were preserved, seated on thrones of gold.