Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel - PF.3135
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1200 AD to 1400 AD
Dimensions: 8.25" (21.0cm) high x 5.5" (14.0cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Guanacaste-Nicoya
Medium: Terracotta


The symbol of the jaguar is prevalent throughout all the Ancient Pre-Columbian cultures. This ferocious and beautiful animal is always depicted in the most noble and revered manner. In Costa Rica, a man or woman of tremendous power and strength most probably held and drank from this magnificent vessel. The jaguar motif on this vessel symbolized the nobility of the person who possessed it. It may have been rattled during a ritual or political commemoration of a victorious conquest of land or neighboring people. The jaguar is shown with a triumphant grin and its eyes are wide open with glory and fortitude revealing its unconquerable spirit. The realistic modeling of the jaguar head is combined with a humanlike pose of the chin resting on the hands. The wide panel around the neck of the jar seems to be composed of stylized plumed-serpent motifs. To conclude the ritual or political commemoration, we can imagine the ruler gallantly holding the vessel out for all to see and proudly drinking its sacred contents creating the perfect gesture symbolizing his or her absolute power in society through direct association with the invincible jaguar divinity. - (PF.3135)



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