Carbonera Gold Pectoral of a Jaguar Deity

SKU FJ.6251

500 AD to 1550 AD


4″ (10.2cm) high x 4″ (10.2cm) wide




Costa Rican/Panamanian Border Area

Gallery Location



This fabulous pectoral seems as if it just surfaced from a mythical realm. It is as if no human hands were involved in its creation; suddenly appearing like an element of nature or a piece of the sun. When seeing something so marvelous our senses are alive and alert to the fantastic; our eyes revolve around the complex inner design which is like a gateway to a secret temple.The so-called Carbonera pendants and pectorals have a distinctive design of a central creature surrounded by attendant figures enclosed in a square frame. The main figure is often a mixture of human and animal characteristics, emphasizing one aspect or the other in varying degrees. The figure on this pectoral is essentially that of a jaguar, tightly gripping the sides of the outside structure. This wonderful frame is composed of two thick horizontal bars curved at the end, to which two vertical bands, like thickly woven fabric, are attached. Running along these bands are three small jaguars on either side, each finely detailed and beautifully modelled. The jaguar motif is continued in the form of magnificent heads the figure wears on his knees. Both they and the main character’s jaguar face show the animal most menacing, with fierce rows of sharp teeth and flaring eyes. What is represented here is probably a shaman dressed as a jaguar with his “familiar spirits” surrounding him. Powerful shamans were reputed to be able to turn themselves into jaguars, thus acquiring strength and prowess from the animal and spirit realms. His exposed penis suggests a connection with a fertility cult. The facts definitely known about this fantastic pectoral are only the beginning of an extraordinary tale. The mystery in which it is shrouded is as exciting and beautiful as the incredible artistry of a master goldsmith and the radiant gold itself. – (FJ.6251)

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