Jaguar Effigy Vessel

SKU PF.4864



1200 AD to 1550 AD


12.25″ (31.1cm) high




Costa Rica

Gallery Location



Ritual imagery reaches its height in the man- jaguar motif of the Late Period VI. The pattern on the vessels becomes formalized; while each one expresses its own personality. The beauty of this particular vessel comes from a number of elements working in perfect harmony. It's most eye-catching feature is the beautifully modeled jaguar head jutting out. The sharp teeth are depicted as a two horizontal segments cleverly painted to suggest fangs on top and bottom. It's eyes stare with great curiosity, surrounded by abstract designs representing a jaguar's markings. A clay ball in the mouth serves as a rattle and a sort of tongue. The jaguar motif represents a sun-devouring Mesoamerican god, and some scholars believe the smaller jaguar images on the arms, legs, around the neck and down the back, are stars revealed by approaching darkness. Encircling the neck is a middle panel consisting of a man/jaguar face with feathered headdress in a repetitive pattern. Of all Pre- Columbian ceramic objects the jaguar effigy vessel is one of the most remarkable and remarkably beautiful, still mystifying after so many centuries.

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