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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Monkey Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Monkey Effigy Vessel
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Monkey Effigy Vessel - PF.3813
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 13.5" (34.3cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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From the depths of the great Guanacaste-Nicoya Zone of the culturally rich country of Costa Rica, history and art combine to tell us a story. This artistic vessel may express one or many of the ancient stories or mythologies relating to the monkey. The monkey is painted with bulging eyes and wide-open mouth. The nose protrudes and round objects painted orange adorn either side of the head. The arms loop out with one hand resting on top of the head and the other at the mouth. A rather sensitive rendering of a creature that often does just that. The applied rattle monkey head is centered between the front two of the attached rattle tripods. There are painted jaguar motifs on the rattle tripods. The bottom is painted orange with claw-like feet. The third rattle tripod is at the rear. A peculiar tail is molded above the rear tripod. Geometric objects are painted on the tail and outlined by a heavy black line. The jaguar motifs on the shoulders and tripods tie together the top and bottom of the vessel. The artist in following the swelling contours of this pear-shaped vessel has paid careful attention. The border on the top is filled with intricately painted elements of various motifs. Below the mouth rim, there is a row of hook designs. This vessel may have served an important function during shaman rituals. The artistic ingenuity and beautiful shape of this vessel makes it a masterpiece of well-developed skill and remarkable creativity. - (PF.3813)


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