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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Guanacaste-Nicoya Terracotta Vessel Featuring a Serpent Motif
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Terracotta Vessel Featuring a Serpent Motif - PF.3226
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Catalogue: V15
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Guancaste-Nicoya
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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In bright reds, oranges and browns as resplendent as a setting sun, a wide staring eye stares at us from underneath a flaming crown. This fantastic creature has bird, serpent and iguana characteristics, which most probably represent a great mythological story. Encircling the top band are step motifs that may resemble jigsaw puzzle pieces to us. To the Ancient Costa Ricans, though, they may have been rich with symbolism and cosmological beliefs. The cross- hatching on the serpent's body is divided into four areas with different colors of paint terminating into a rattle, perhaps a ‘rattle snake,’ at the end of the body. Feathers appear to grow forth from the rattle and iguana legs sprout forth from the upper body. The movement of the creature is aquatic at one time and terrestrial at the next blink of our eyes. Surely, during ritual, this bright creature received reverence and prayers to appease the deity it represented, and the shaman or nobility who drank from this lively globular vessel must have received veneration, as well. - (PF.3226)


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