Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel

SKU PF.4248

800 AD to 1500 AD


15″ (38.1cm) high




Guanacaste Nicoya, Costa Rica

Gallery Location

S Korea


This beautiful vessel is the ultimate example of Costa Rican skill and craftsmanship in this region. This three-footed vessel is in a gourd shape that then becomes square at the very top of the vessel. The decoration itself is done in a register form that then includes both geometric patterns and zoomorphic patterns. These decorations are found along the arms and legs of the vessel as well as at the back and on the front, under the protruding face. The polychrome design adds both interest and intrigue into a piece that could have had so many functions and uses. There are so many features that make this masterpiece so unique. The most realistic depiction is the face of the jaguar. The three dimensional head is captured in a pose that is threatening and fierce. The mouth is opened exposing the large fangs and red tongue. Inside the hollowed out mouth is a clay ball that rolls around and acts as a rattle. The eyes are popping out of the face and the ears are perked up in attention. Another remarkable feature are the arms and legs. The front legs protrude out from the vessel and become the two front supports for the tripod. Then there are two arms that protrude from the side of the vessel and rest upon the tops of the legs. It is an incredible feat as an artist to render a work of art that is completely original in design. Nevertheless, such a piece is valuable to us because of its rich past and what it can tell us of that past, with rituals, and other important functions that were important parts of life then.

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