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Incense Burner

800-1200 CE
15 7/8 x 10 3/8 in. (40.3 x 26.4 cm)

Unknown, Greater Nicoya
Costa Rican

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Clay
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Buxbaum
Accession Number: 1969.62
Location: Currently on view
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Incense burners are found throughout the Ancient Americas, and this example is similar in purpose to the incense burner in the figure of Macuilxochitl in the case across the room. The smoke that emanated from an incense burner during a ritual could magically shroud the physical world before it dissipated into the mysterious world of the cosmos. The form itself is firmly rooted in the natural world: echoing the shape of an active volcano, the rough-textured bands of appliqu├ęd pellets are symbolic of the scutes on an alligators hide.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Buxbaum, Canandaigua, NY; their gift to the Gallery in 1969

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