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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Zoomorphic Vessels : Terracotta Sculpture of a Feline
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Terracotta Sculpture of a Feline - PF.3428
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 11.75" (29.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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With his short legs supporting his seated position, this sculpture of a feline, most likely a jaguar, delights our eyes with its charm. Sculpted in the polychrome style, its body is decorated with intricate, painted patterns of small lines, circles, and chevron shapes. Moreover, the dark painted lines help define the legs, the tail, and whiskers. The feline's round realistic head undoubtedly evokes an instant emotional response. The slightly protruding circular eyes, nose, whiskers, and the red mouth create an amicable essence, which touches viewers' hearts. The figure's elongated body shape further accentuates the simple beauty of a jaguar. Such beautiful terracotta sculpture was cherished by Ancient Costa Ricans as the jaguar--a powerful god--was revered. The godly and mythical being, jaguar was worshiped throughout Ancient Meso-America, and jaguar images were often used in special rituals, ceremonies, and temples. Perhaps the artist of this amicable jaguar wanted to express the benevolent aspect of the otherwise feared jaguar-god. As we look into this Ancient sculpture, we certainly feel the intentions of the artist. - (PF.3428)


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