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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Zoomorphic Vessels : Zoomorphic Effigy Vessel
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Zoomorphic Effigy Vessel - PF.3222
Origin: Costa Rica (Guanacaste)
Circa: 300 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high x 9" (22.9cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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This vessel has a triumphant power and vitality of its own. In the two or three centuries before 500AD, the repertoire of ceramic decoration begins to enlarge in Guanacaste. The motifs become increasingly angular and geometric. This zoomorphic-effigy vessel is a delightful work of art exemplary of this trend. This particular vessel is referred to as Guinea Incised Ware. The linear, rather than sculptural, qualities are emphasized and the motifs are sharply angular and geometric. The symbolism of heaven, which is rather abstract to begin with, may be depicted on this vessel. Undoubtedly the designs have been placed on the vessel in north-south, east- west fashion. There is a circular design perhaps symbolic of heaven surrounding the hole. The hole in this circular image of space may signify the path of transcendence or transformation. We can assume that this vessel played an important part in ancient rituals during which man tried to penetrate into the mystery of the other world through transformation. Perhaps this vessel contained a hallucinogenic liquid to add the person in transformation. It appears that the artist had in mind a connection between this animal, the heavens and transformation. This is a beautiful and mysterious vessel responsible for our obsession towards lofty thoughts and the unknown. - (PF.3222)


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