Diquis Gold Pendant of a Jaguar Deity - FJ.6273, Origin: Costa Rican/Panamanian Border Area, Circa: 500 AD to 1550 AD, Dimensions: 5.1" (13.0cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Diquis, Medium: Gold. The central figure of this fantastic pendant is supporting and is supported by an elaborate frame with curved top and bottom typical of Diquis style. The ornamentation is composed of mythical heads of beasts, like sea monsters or sytlized crocodiles, with exposed teeth and wonderful scrolls and spirals representing flowing hair or even alligator scutes. The figure itself wears a beautiful jaguar mask, very fierce in expression and clearly indicated as a mask by a thick edge around the sides. A unique feature is a second, larger mask on his chest which is part of his costume, revealing a face quite human in appearance. There seems to be visual puns going on, with an interchange between man and animal, one becoming the other instantaneously, as shamans were reputed to be able to do. This pendant may well represent an actual shaman involved in a ritual ceremony, perhaps related to fertility rites suggested by the fact his penis is the shape of a snake head, a symbol of sexuality. In this pendant there are many things going on at once--spectacle, pageantry and drama of an ancient character full of mystery potent as the sun.
Ancient Central America & Mexico