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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Avian Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Eagle Effigy Vessel
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Eagle Effigy Vessel - PF.3347
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The colors and patterning around the vessel lead our eye to the central motif on this vessel, which is an eagle with a curved beak and the circular patterning surrounding it, which makes it stand out as if it were a prize. The unknown artist wants us to recognize his society and their ways of living through the rich tones of brown, black, orange, and white. These colors form patterning around the entire vessel in bands and layers. Each pattern and layer suggests an added aspect of this Costa Rican culture. Firstly, there is a suggestion to the types of homes lived in through the shape of the pyramid. The three circles in each colored area show us that geometrical patterns must have had significant symbolical meaning to the Costa Rican culture. The worship of cosmological and symbolical beliefs is evident if we assume the orange color stands for daylight, and the black stands for night. The detailing around the fantastic creature shows the high regard this culture felt for the eagle. This is again evident in the two gigantic crocodiles that encompass both sides of the vessel. There is a human body attached to the crocodile's head, showing that this culture wants to integrate human lifestyles with these animals. The crocodile's power created a culture that simultaneously revered and feared these animals. This vessel shows the importance of animals to this culture through the vibrant colors, geometrical patterning, and radiant energy. - (PF.3347)


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