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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Panama : Polychrome Terracotta Jar
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Polychrome Terracotta Jar - PF.4795
Origin: Panama
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 9.25" (23.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The technique of applying colors to a white-buff background marked a dramatic development in Cocle art. This allowed the unique iconography its full breadth of visual expression and clarity. On this delightful jar the upper and lower sections each have three separate panels. A large crab dominates the center of the vessel's body. Their spiny leg adds a dynamic quality to the bold purple center, and in a sense, brings it to life. Compare this one to the smaller crabs on the neck panels, done in a slightly more abstract manner. Their legs are like pincers and give the impression the crab is inanimate. The opposite of this effect is seen in the very busy dual panels of the middle, which are similar to the one on the neck. They are somewhat typical of the abstract saurian (lizard) imagery for which Cocle art is justly famous. The overall effect of the designs is one of movement and stillness, activity and silence, combined to form a harmonious balance. This wonderful equilibrium is achieved through contrasting patterns and is a feature that makes Cocle art so special. - (PF.4795)


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