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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Monkey Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel with Two Monkeys
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel with Two Monkeys - PF.3476
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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The patterning and animals seen on this vessel reflects the jungle environment of Costa Rica. In each of the three layers there is a different idea conveyed that shows unique aspects of this culture. The shapes all over the vessel are geometrical and symbolic. The artist has created two monkeys on either side of the vessel that become playful through the use of line and shape. The curvilinear lines used to outline the form creates a sense of movement, as if this monkey could pick itself up and swing through the trees. The artist has chosen to depict this animal because it played a prominent role in this culture, as these people lived with these creatures in a jungle-like environment. The top and bottom layers are geometrical renderings of the crocodile, another animal the Costa Rican people lived with and highly regarded. The artist conscientiously chose to depict a crocodile without realism in order to show the symbolism behind the crocodile. The crocodile was an animal that was both revered and feared for its power and energy. These people lived with these creatures and knew they could hurt them at any time. Thus, the crocodile became a very important animal in their lives. The geometrical patterning combines the symbolism and the mysticism of these two animals in the intertwining patterns of carved areas. This vessel depicts two of the animals in Costa Rica in a beautiful way, combining symmetry and geometry. This object is a breathtaking work of art, representing the culture, and life contained within the Guanacaste -Nicoya region. - (PF.3476)


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