Pre-Columbian Art :
Avian Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Eagle Effigy Vessel
Guanacaste-Nicoya Eagle Effigy Vessel - PF.3347
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
10" (25.4cm) high
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.