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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.4286
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 800 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 11.25" (28.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The function of the vessel has remained a crucial part of day to day living throughout the centuries. Countless civilizations have used such pieces for both formal and informal affairs while constantly changing its appearance, though its use remains the same. In particular, vessels originating from the Costa Rica area, often present strong zoomorphic representations, animals that were typically seen in the rainforest and jungle. The jaguar shown on this piece is a popular ornamentation, as its prowess and beauty have always been highly regarded. To maintain the balance of the piece without jeopardizing the craftsmanship, the vessel rests on two legs and the tail of the jaguar. The two front paws rest gently on the legs, pushing the visual image forward as well as the exquisitely painted decoration. Though the colors used are polychrome, the overall feeling is subtle, allowing the talent of the artist to take center stage. The patterning itself combines geometric and free form objects, both in a distinct pattern. Such detail suggests a formal use, as do the rattles in the legs, creating an awareness of the vessel's presence and its contents at a large function. However, mystery still clouds a vessel like this and its specific use, adding intrigue to its beauty. - (PF.4286)


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