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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Ceramic Bowl With Anthropomorphic Legs
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Ceramic Bowl With Anthropomorphic Legs - PF.3134
Origin: Costa Rica (Guanacaste)
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Painted in lustrous black and red on a yellowish background, two faces stare at us on either side of the interior of this bowl. These faces have square, stylized mouths with wide noses and partially depicted oval eyes. The faces most probably symbolize great mythological deities. Encircling the top band are dot motifs that may not resemble anything to us, but to the ancient Costa Ricans, dots represented seeds and fertility. Depicted in the center of the bowl is a black circle which is surrounded by alternating red, black and cream circles. This circle decoration and the circles depicted on the foreheads of the anthropomorhpic legs may have been rich with symbolism and cosmological beliefs. The anthropomorphic legs contain ceramic balls inside. We can assume that these ceramic balls were rattled during rituals by a shaman or chieftan. This brightly decorated bowl was most probably placed among other sacred items on an altar during rituals. Although the precise purpose and meaning remains unknown, the inherent energy of this work of art penetrates deeper into our psyches and creates a new awareness of our own relationship with the ancient past. - (PF.3134)


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