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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Tlaloc Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel Depicting the Head of Tlaloc
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel Depicting the Head of Tlaloc - PF.3462
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Catalogue: v16
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The symbolism and use of color on this vessel is extremely intense. The bold use of oranges, black, and white illuminates the vessel, and reflects this person's high status. The crocodile was revered and feared at the same time by this culture for their magnificent power, for the crocodile had the potential to harm or protect. On this vessel we find curvilinear lines outlining the powerful form of this animal, showing this person must have been a very meaningful leader in the community. There is a tremendous amount of movement, seen in the open mouth which looks as if it is talking, and smiling at the same time. There is movement in the banding around the neck of this vessel as well. Again, dual meanings are seen in the patterns under the eyes, which may have represented tribal scars or tears. The face of this vessel reminds us of Tlaloc, the Mexican god of rain. The symbolic interpretations for this vessel are numerous, but the one thing that is apparent is the power of this person represented through color, line, forms, and symbols. - (PF.3462)


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