Pedestal jar - ROM2019_17478_42


Pedestal jar

Geography: Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Date: AD 1000-1350
28 × 18 × 18 cm
Object number: 2018.11.5
Credit Line: Gift of Philip and Marian Brady
Not on view
Description This jar is an example of the egg-shaped Pataky Polychrome jars of the Greater Nicoya region of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.  Typically found in graves, the vessels likely contained offerings of food or drink. The bands of decoration on this vessel may represent the layers that make up the world – a spiritually-charged upper layer, followed by the terrestrial layer in which we dwell, and an underworld layer at the bottom. The vessel emphasizes the boundaries between layers and the ways in which these layers can be penetrated.  In the upper register, an animal, likely an alligator or jaguar, moves between the cosmological divide, emphasizing how spiritual mediums who take on these animals can move to and inhabit either world. The heliacal vine motif in the bottom register adds to this spiritual imagery. It depicts the key ingredient for ayahuasca, a brew traditionally used in shamanism that is said to give the consumer revelations. The use of blank space maximizes the separation between worlds.

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