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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Panama : Cocle Pedastal Bowl with Avian Motifs
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Cocle Pedastal Bowl with Avian Motifs - PF.1345
Origin: Panama
Circa: 1000 AD to 1400 AD
Dimensions: 6.25" (15.9cm) high x 10.625" (27.0cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Archaeological excavations in the Cocle Province located in Central Panama have revealed that an ancient civilization once inhabited these lands. The findings suggested that the so-called Cocle culture arose around 500 A.D. and lasted until about 1000 A.D. Although their dating is roughly contemporaneous with the Diquis culture to the north in modern day Costa Rica, the art they left behind suggests that they were a unique, independent civilization. Cocle art, which consists primarily of unslipped or buff slipped pottery and terracotta sculptures, is distinguished by their polychrome hues and lively asymmetrical motifs which often include animal themes.

Powerfully abstract, Cocle art is among the most accomplished in ancient America. Full of fanciful creatures, hybrids of the local fauna, it suggests a people possessed of a vivid imagination. This magnificent polychrome bowl depicts four bird gods arranged with powerful symmetry. With curved beaks, wide wings, and sharp claws, they resemble the griffins of classical myth. As with many Cocle motifs, their magic is benevolent, designed to keep evil at bay. Looking at this vivid bowl, we cannot help but wonder if the jungles of ancient Panama were not filled with fantastic creatures. - (PF.1345)


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