Gold Pendant of a Double-Headed Crocodile - FJ.6350, Origin: Costa Rican/Panamanian Border Area, Circa: 500 AD to 1550 AD, Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Pre-Columbian, Medium: Gold. Saurian imagery (crocodiles, iguanas, lizards) were very popular among goldsmiths, and apparently their clients. The talented artists of Panama were perfectly capable of creating very naturalistic representations of animal or human figures. This constitutes one major category; while the other significant group is the highly abstract, zoomorphic genre. This wonderful pendant shows a double-headed crocodile joined together by a thick body. The heads are in fact quite realistic, using filigree to give attractive details such as the double-bands down the nose curling at the end and around the eyes. The teeth also are very clearly expressed, being sharp and menacing. Realism then leaves off the abstract predominates, in the way myth takes over from reality. The legs are composed of three spirals at the center against the body, flanked by double spirals on each side. The front and back legs are spayed and seem like extensions from the mouth. A thick cord or twined rope attached to the stylized feet unites the entire piece. The crocodile was a highly respected animal, which shaman/sorcerers adopted as emblematic of their powers. Perhaps this beautiful pendant adorned the body of a powerful shaman-chief.