Guanacaste-Nicoya Blackware Sculpture of a Jaguar with a Bowl on its Back - PF.3582, Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD, Dimensions: 11" (27.9cm) high, Catalogue: V16, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Guanacaste-Nicoya, Medium: Terracotta. This realistic depiction of a jaguar is stunning and impressionable, with its symbolic reference and artistic quality. Sculpted in a dark color, its body and face are rendered with expressionistic, bold fashion. The large incision marks are fluid and bold, depicting the facial features, the hair, and the details on the tail. The feet of the jaguar are exceptionally large, supporting the body on which a vessel is placed. The open mouth showing large, lethal fangs and the wide-open eyes suggest aggressive power and force. As we look into the face of the jaguar, we are taken by the dramatic expression; the hollow mouth that leads into the dark interior creating a mysterious sense of the unknown. The vessel, on both inner and outer surface, is also enhanced with fine, decorative incision lines in various patterns. Jaguars were revered beings in Meso-America, often considered as one of the most powerful gods. Perhaps ancient people of Costa Rica realized the strength and agility of jaguars in nature, in which humans were often vulnerable. Because of such reasons, jaguars were worshiped and represented as deities. Such beautiful, skillfully sculpted effigy vessel was most likely used in rituals or ceremonies. This ancient sculpture still proves to be a magnificent, valuable artwork to the modern viewers.
Ancient Central America & Mexico