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Jaguar Effigy Vessel

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Usually found in funerary contexts, large jaguar effigy vessels with bold red and black designs on a light background were apparently highly desirable goods in ancient Costa Rica. Perhaps it was believed that objects depicting fierce predators such as the jaguar transferred their strength to the deceased. The selective placement of jaguar markings and imagery on this example suggests that the vessel represents a person and his jaguar alter ego. During trances Costa Rican shamans are believed to symbolically transform themselves into jaguars in order to move between natural and supernatural realms.

Usualmente encontradas en contextos funerarios, las grandes vasijas efigie con llamativos diseños en rojo y negro sobre un fondo blanco eran aparentemente muy cotizadas en la antigua Costa Rica. Quizás se creía que objetos que representaban fieros depredadores como el jaguar podían transferir su fortaleza al difunto. La posición selectiva de las marcas e imagen del jaguar en este ejemplo sugieren que la vasija representa a una persona y su alter ego jaguar. Durante los trances, se cree que los chamanes de Costa Rica se transforman simbólicamente en jaguares para moverse entre los mundos natural y sobrenatural.
MEDIUM Ceramic, pigment
DATES 1000-1550
DIMENSIONS 13 3/8 x 10 13/16 in. (34 x 27.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 48.140.2
CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Jaguar Effigy Vessel, 1000-1550. Ceramic, pigment, 13 3/8 x 10 13/16 in. (34 x 27.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund, 48.140.2. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 48.140.2_view1_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (63%)
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Jaguar Effigy Vessel