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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Jaguar Effigy Vessels : Bowl Supported by a Double-Headed Jaguar Effigy
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Bowl Supported by a Double-Headed Jaguar Effigy - PF.3976
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Costa Rican
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The mighty jaguar as worshipped and revered by numerous cults in Meso-America was transformed into a near mythical beast possessing supernatural powers. This aspect is depicted in art, often balancing on the fine line between realism and pure abstraction. This lovely bowl is attached to the back of a two-headed jaguar. Each head is different in design, the one having wide-open eyes and teeth like columns connected to the roof of the mouth and lower jaw. The eyes of the other are like coffee beans, its mouth open wide revealing two rows of sharp teeth. A curious horned ridge on the nose adds a reptilian quality. The legs on both are thick and very sturdy, expressing in a graphic manner the power of the jaguar. The use of crosses on the necks and thighs adds a dramatic aspect, and is also reminiscent of certain forms of ritual scarification. A type of lattice work on the sides in the form of connecting triangles contained in a horizontal bar is very decorative and reminds one, in an abstract way, of the jaguar's coat. It is possible this bowl was used for ritual purposes to hold food or even as an incense burner. The deeper meaning of this sculpture is tantalizing, encouraging our imagination to soar back to a mysterious time and place that thrived as a great artistic center and produced some of the most fascinating ceramics in the world. - (PF.3976)


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