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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Jaguar Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel - PF.3792
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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From the depths of the great Guanacaste-Nicoya Zone of the culturally rich country of Costa Rica, history and art combine to tell us a story. This artistic vessel may express one or many of the ancient stories or mythologies relating to the jaguar. Perhaps the jaguar refers to the power and ferociousness of warriors or shamans. The jaguar is painted with its mouth wide-open and snarling. A rather sensitive rendering of a creature that often does just that. The head is molded on the front of the vessel displaying all the jaguar characteristics. A peculiar round object, painted orange lies inside the snarling wide-open mouth. The artist in following the swelling contours of this globular vessel has paid careful attention. The border on the top and bottom are filled with intricately painted elements of various motifs. Below the mouth rim, there is a row of hook designs. Just below the hook designs, the diagnostic jaguar frieze is silhouetted in black against a white slip, giving the impression of negative painting. The lower body is encircled with a band of jaguars. Heavy black stripes tie together the top and bottom of the vessel. This vessel may have served an important function during shaman rituals relating to power and dominance. The artistic ingenuity and beautiful shape of this vessel makes it a masterpiece of well-developed skill and remarkable creativity. - (PF.3792)


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