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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Archive : Pre-Columbian Art / Tripartite Gold Pendant of a Costumed Shaman
Pre-Columbian Art / Tripartite Gold Pendant of a Costumed Shaman - FJ.6048
Origin: Costa Rican/Panamanian Border Area
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high
Catalogue: V21
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: Sold....173 grams Trudy

Location: Great Britain
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The harpy eagle has had great mythological significance in Costa Rican art. The great bird, both beautiful and fierce, has been the subject of devotion and adoration for centuries. The gold masterpiece, which silently shimmers in all its glory and mystery before us, is undoubtedly an exceptional work of art. It combines the powerful forces of artistic ingenuity with supernatural and mythical imagery. This fabulous harpy eagle mask emphasizes the "all seeing eyes" of the shaman. The eyes are so prominent that they literally pop out at us like binoculars. The enormous sharply curved beak is open to speak or screech at any moment. On either side of the face are abstract crocodile-like heads with gazing eyes and snarling snouts revealing lethal teeth. Filigree swirling scrolls depict earrings. The arms are transformed into wings with larger crocodile-like heads juxtaposed upon them. The combination of the human figure with animal elements has been considered in some cases as the identification of the native with his "alter ego" or "other self" (the protecting spirit). The belief that humans can acquire various animal spirits is prevalent throughout Meso-America. The energetic spirit of the bird is further enhanced by the movable parts, which may have possibly imitated the movements of the bird in flight. A shield or pectoral graces his upright chest and below his waist his genitals are depicted. A rope caresses the top of his genitals and may possibly have procreative significance. The crocodile motif is seen once again bursting forth from the shaman's upper thighs. He wears an ornament above both feet and is standing upon a fantastic double-headed crocodile creature. The entire composition is full of unexpected surprises and dynamic power. Such an extraordinary pendant was certainly worn by a shaman of utmost importance in society.....trudy - (FJ.6048)


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