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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Jaguar Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel - PF.3568
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1400 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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During period VI, there was an increased production of white-slipped polychrome vessels in the northern part of the greater Nicoya sub area. The cream-slipped pottery was called Jicote polychrome. Although Jicote painting on vessel has more matt quality than other styles, its designs are often bold and striking. This fascinating effigy vessel has the pear shape, which was popular in period vi, with tripod supports. The band around the neck contains decorative patterns and zoomorphic figures, and the thin black contour lines define the shapes. Such patterns seem to be symbolic expressions, indicating the complex content. Moreover, it has an appliqué head of a jaguar that is supported by the elongated legs. The head is decorated with black and orange paint, with small circular patterns suggesting the textural quality. Its fangs are dramatically enhanced with cross- mark shape and colors, and the long legs are also decorated with bands of alternating colors of orange and black. The otherwise simple body of the vessel comes alive with sculpted rendition of legs and the tail. Being a mythical creature and a revered animal for its power and agility, jaguar was a divine symbol often used by ancient Costa Ricans. Decorated with such a special creature, this effigy vessel must have embodied a particular significance. As we contemplate this beautiful vessel, we appreciate the great ancient culture and its expressive, artistic creation. - (PF.3568)


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