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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Saurian Deities : Vessel in the Form of a Saurian Deity
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Vessel in the Form of a Saurian Deity - PF.3846
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 200 AD to 500 AD

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Half-human/half-animal vessels were very popular for hundreds of years in Costa Rica. Artists used their inventive skills to create images that seem to occupy two separate realms of reality at once; subtly and cleverly playing with established imagery in an attempt to express something profound to themselves and the community in which they lived. This amazing vessel was probably made for a wealthy member of the elite classes and used as a storage container or drinking vessel. The bulbous belly is made even more prominent by the lovely red slip decorated with bold black lines in an intricate pattern on the chest and sides. The tripod feet bend at the knees to give extra support, and their thickness is nicely contrasted with the very thin arms holding onto the sides of the stomach. As with many such vessels the face is zoomorphic with a definite alligator motif, yet still quite human. Elaborate decoration of the painting combined with ornamental details such as earspools and necklace present aspects of the wealthy individuals for whom it was made and offers us a glimpse into their lives. - (PF.3846)


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