Diquis Gold Pendant of a Shaman Wearing an Avian Mask - FJ.6250
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 2.25" (5.7cm) high x 2" (5.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Diquis
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: 26.5 grams


Since there are no written records describing religious practices of the ancient Costa Ricans, we must rely upon the visual arts to give us at least a glimpse of their esoteric rituals. It is accepted that the preoccupation with supernatural forms of Diquis pendants served as indicators of rank and family status; or used as amulets, and were not considered as strictly ornamental jewelry. However, this fascinating pendant tells us there is much more to the story. What we are seeing is a standing figure with his arms raised, his elbows bent and hands nearly parallel with his shoulders. His legs are spread apart in a solid stance. From the ankles a semi-curved extension flies out like the wings of the Greek god Hermes. There is a slim double band around his waist. Apart from this he is naked with his genitals exposed. The most striking aspect is the wonderfully expressive and powerful avian(bird) mask he wears. The fact this is a mask is evident from the well defined edging around the sides, showing very clearly how the mask fit snugly to the face. Attached to the man's head is a broad horizontal bar with curved extensions originating at his ears and curving towards the upper band. This may be seen as a structural balance to the lower base; but given the context, it is more likely a headdress. This figure is probably a shaman who is shown in his ritual attire deeply involved in a shamanic ritual. The drama appears to be at its height; at the crucial moment of transformation when the deity joins with the human. The man's pigeon breast is very prominent and considered a physical manifestation of a shaman. In the light of a secret shamanic ritual, this magnificent pendant becomes larger than life; vast and glittering with supernatural power, enhanced by the natural glow of the brilliant gold. - (FJ.6250)



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