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Jar with Reptile Heads

ca. 500-800
5 15/16 x 11 x 7 1/2 in. (15.1 x 28 x 19 cm)

Unknown, Atlantic Watershed
Costa Rican

Object Type: Ceramics
Medium and Support: Blackware
Credit Line: Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Accession Number: 1972.8
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

This pot originates from the mountainous region of central Costa Rica. Painted with black-slip, the vessel was then decorated with incised marks made after firing.

The two lizard heads serve both as handles and as a visual metaphor for the concept of dualism. This deeply-rooted artistic convention often depicts objects in pairs to represent the fundamental complexities of life and death. A central component of many societies in the Ancient Americas, symbolic dualism seeks to balance the opposing manifestations of male and female, left and right, light and dark, and night and day.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
E. Vargas Alfonso, Decatur, Georgia (dealer?); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1972

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