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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Animal Sculptures : Guanacaste Sculpture of a Monkey Carrying a Vessel
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Guanacaste Sculpture of a Monkey Carrying a Vessel - PF.3801
Origin: Guanacaste Zone, Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Seated comfortably on his "tail" this charming figure carries a bowl perched on his right shoulder. His left hand, or paw, is placed on the middle portion of his left side. This positioning of the hand is the same in similar figures; which occasionally have both hands exactly centered to leave the stomach area prominent. Another characteristic feature is the "button", or appliqu├ęd circle on the corner of the mouth, which may represent an inflammation or sore. The unusual hat, resembling a mushroom cap, is incised with lines and marked by small holes. It is possible this figure is part of a group of sculptures related to shaman practice of healing, as evidenced by the swollen belly and signs of disease. Art in Meso-America was used as a medium to depict physical conditions, as well as states of mind, and acted as a form of "sympathetic" magic to help people with a variety of complaints. For us the fascination is both aesthetic and cultural, with a dash of mystery at being in the presence of something defying precise explanation. - (PF.3801)


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