In 1947 Miguel Covarrubias was commissioned by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (then known as the Viking Fund) to design the Viking Fund Medal. The medal was awarded to honor outstanding intellectual leadership and exceptional service to the discipline of anthropology. It was originally struck in heavy bronze with a three-inch diameter and depicts four dancers, representing the diversity of humankind.
On receipt of the design, Paul Fejos, the founding Director of Research for the Foundation, wrote Covarrubias:
The medal drawing arrived and everyone is lyrical, with myself leading the chorus. The original drawing will be framed to hang in the place of honor over our library mantel. The enclosed check for $500 is, I know, absurdly small, but you may be assured that our gratitude to you is great.
The design was adopted as the logo of the Foundation until 2000, when it was replaced with a simple hand print. The Foundation is delighted to reinstate the Covarrubias design as its official emblem.