Guanacaste-Nicoya Jaguar Effigy Vessel

SKU PF.3626

1000 AD to 1350 AD


13.75″ (34.9cm) high x 12″ (30.5cm) wide




Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica

Gallery Location



These dark-brown or black slipped vessels, usually characterized by modeled zoomorphic features and white filled engraved lines, seem to represent standing human figures with zoomorphic masks and other animal features, perhaps cloaks or skins. Incomplete iconographic knowledge prevents further interpretation of the roles of these animals in the prevailing mythological framework, although they also appear before and through period vi in central and Eastern Costa Rican settings, where modeled and appliqué decoration was more common. This polychrome vessel is handsomely decorated, showing the true talent of the craftsmen. There is little geometric patterning except for the neck of the vessel and there are three-foot supports, two of which represent the feet of a person. It is well proportioned in size and both its shape and its iconography make us wonder about the past and indeed the past of this piece. We are lucky to be a part of its history.

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