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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Archive : Alligator Effigy Vessel
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Alligator Effigy Vessel - PF.4203
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 10.75" (27.3cm) high
Catalogue: V22
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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It was a particular passion of the artists of Ancient Costa Rica to depict animals in ceramic art. They relished in details of realism, where clay imitates the appearance and texture of feathers, skin or scales. A perfect example is seen in this superb vessel. The surface is composed of bosses of nearly equal size, placed around the middle section, head and tail to simulate alligator scutes. To the touch the surface texture is amazingly like the reptile's tough, scaly body. When seen from the front the appearance is quite frightening, with its horned crest and mouth gaping wide exposing two rows of sharp teeth and the dark cavern of the vessel's interior. Considerable skill was required to give the eyes such expression, using a sharp instrument with confidence and dexterity. The upper chimney shape has a top band of inscribed designs. A series of circles placed equidistant are intersected by triangles grouped in a pyramid shape. The effect is of houses or huts in a row with the sun or moon rising above them. For centuries the alligator was regarded as a deity, which the people of a village both feared and revered. The artist of this fascinating vessel has succeeded in showing the alligator in both its realistic and mythical roles- slithering along a swampy bank, and also of grand proportions larger than life.HT. 27.3cm(10 3/4IN): L. 50.8cm(20IN) - (PF.4203)


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