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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Polychrome Effigy Vessel
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Polychrome Effigy Vessel - PF.4287
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 12" (30.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Realizing the flora and fauna of Costa Rica ancient the environment influenced tribal men. This effigy vessel is an example of the respect the Costa Ricans paid to the animal kingdom. The tattooed seated shaman is a very mysterious fellow. We are not sure what he is doing and or what he is contemplating, but by the look of his downcast eyes he seems to be in a trance. His mouth is also in a rather strange position, is he trying to curl his tongue? Or is he whistling? The questions are endless in regards to what ritualistic task he is performing, but we are given a few clues to draw some conclusions to the mystery of this vessel. The basket he is carrying on his back is not functional for any elements we may think it contained, but rather a unique example of a vessel that contained hallucinogenic chemicals. Looking carefully at the vessel the pattern work on the basket depicts images of a bird-like man. This may be a representation of the bird by which this shaman associates himself with while in a trance. The shaman becomes the eagle or condor and therefore acquires the speed and strength of the avian world. Notice the third leg of the tripod in the back of the vessel. It is in the shape of a jaguar's head. This can be yet another animal which influences him while in a trance. The power of these animals along with the spiritual power of a shaman creates a dominant Energy form. The symbolic nature of the images represented on this effigy vessel will always remain a mystery and forever keep one contemplating. - (PF.4287)


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