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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Panama : Cocle Polychrome Terracotta Vessel
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Cocle Polychrome Terracotta Vessel - PF.4025
Origin: Panama
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The highly geometric, abstract patterns on Cocle ceramics are some of the most graceful and mysterious forms in all Pre-Columbian art. One frequent pattern is the juxtaposing sets of alternating triangles placed in opposite directions to each other. This mirror-image effect can be seen on this delightful jar. The globular base narrows to a slim 'waist', rising vertically to the neck and flared rim. The faces on both middle portion and rim are very simply created, using either circles or straight lines for the eyes; and rectangular blocks with striations or straight lines for the mouths. Given the obvious skill of Cocle painters this childlike quality was obviously intentional, having the effect of presenting images that are identifiably human, and yet strangely mystical. Bands of single narrow lines function as borders between the faces and open areas, giving the impression of 'energy' channels propelling the eyes round and round the vessel. The use of red, black and violet paint on an orange slip is a hallmark of Cocle ceramics. Patterns such as these are interpreted as representing the interaction of male and female dyads (pair of units); working in harmony together, continuing forever in a lovely flow of elegant lines and curves. - (PF.4025)


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