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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Panama : Pedestal Bowl
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Pedestal Bowl - PF.4793
Origin: Panama
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 5" (12.7cm) high x 10" (25.4cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The mysterious patterns on Cocle ceramics may be interpreted as shaman art. The genuine shamans (sorcerers) of Ancient Panama were the link between the physical and metaphysical worlds. They understood how to incorporate the two disparate realms in order to acquire psychic power for healing, prophecy, or fertility. The bringing together of opposing forces, uniting male and female elements, is the basic principle; and this is what Cocle artists achieved in their remarkable creations. On this beautiful bowl we see an abstract bird with its head in profile looking left, eyes staring widely, its wings curled inwards, yet seeming about to stretch full length. A single broad red line that curves up and down ending in two opposing points brilliantly forms the wings and body. The delicate pale purple bands act as an outline to frame the bird. Surrounding and incorporating it are sharp needles, jagged lines, claws, straight and twisted spikes that collectively give the entire figure an extraordinary energetic force. This power is so intense it spills over onto the rim, beyond the boundaries of the known world and into the next; where the shamans of old are said to have gone. - (PF.4793)


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