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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Tlaloc Effigy Vessels : Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel Depicting the Head of Tlaloc
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Vessel Depicting the Head of Tlaloc - PF.4058
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 12.75" (32.4cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The large ovoid jar rests on a flared foot and curves into a very wide mouth. A vertical flange rests just above the joining of the foot and body. The vessel is painted to represent the head of the Mexican rain God, Tlaloc. Ears with earspools, a small nose and a protruding upper lip are applied on the vessel. The large double-ringed round eyes are diagnostic of the effigy face theme. The mouth is a very large and black zigzag and red dots around the sides represent a mouth mask. The pedestal foot is ringed with a painted decoration of black squares and lines bordered by white squares similar to jaguar spots. The wide inner band of the pedestal foot is painted with jaguar bodies and tails with crocodile snouts. The lower band of the body is decorated with red and cream intertwining serpent-like bodies. A band at the mouth rim contains the stylized serpent motif and the band below it contains the stylized jaguar motif. The jaguars, like the serpents, are decorated with intricate, lacy black on white panels. The silhouettes in black against the white ground give the effect of negative painting or reserve decoration. By Period VI, the dominant zoomorphic figures in apparent mythological symbolic contexts were the jaguar and serpent. This vessel is thought to have been elite- associated ware. - (PF.4058)


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