If art indeed reflects the nature of a society, then
the Tairona were fun loving and playful, a people
who delighted in whimsy and joyful expression.
Tairona villages were often quite large,
consisting of hundreds, sometimes thousands,
of dwellings. They were well ordered and
connected with one another by an elaborate
network of stone, slab-paved roads. In many
houses a pottery vessel containing small pebbles
was buried beneath the floor. The pebbles
represented family members, and at the birth of
a child the pot was dug up and another pebble
placed inside. In this manner all the inhabitants
were identified and taken under the protection of
the spirits who were guardians of the dwelling.
It is hard to imagine a more perfect object for
such a use than this very adorable animal vessel.
Though we cannot be certain it was intended for
this purpose, the sheer delight it brings is full of
warmth and family spirit. The animal bears a
resemblance to a hedgehog or other small
mammals, with clever stylization revealing the
artist's sense of humor. Details of realism add
even more charm; such as the tiny feet, the
wonderful smiling face and curly tail. We have
here a direct communication from one person to
another- artist to viewer, done without barriers,
without complications; a simple and pure sharing
of innocent pleasure through the medium of art.