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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Pre-Columbian Masterpieces : Terracotta Incencario with Alligator
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Terracotta Incencario with Alligator - PF.3939
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 600 AD to 1100 AD
Dimensions: 48" (121.9cm) high
Catalogue: V16
Collection: Pre-Columbian Art
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Divided into two halves, the bottom portion of this triangular shaped incensario rests on a base, its sides slanting inwards to form a textured rim, then flaring outwards towards the middle rim. Two textured panels on both sides creates the effect of an alligator's scudes, adding richness to the main theme of the vessel. Though containing some stylized elements, such as the semi- circular textured 'rings' on the head and neck, this alligator bears many realistic details. The head is raised with sharp teeth exposed, appliqued eyes are surrounded by a thick border, the tail curves downwards attaching to the side of the lid. Each of the four feet grip firmly onto the vessel's neck, the claws being very clearly distinguished. Such elaborate vessels as this one were probably used in a ritual context. It is possible that the material burned inside the incensario caused drug-induced visions, which may be the inspiration behind the fantastic nature of the creature crowning the top. - (PF.3939)


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