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Lidded Bowl with Iguana

Lidded Bowl with Iguana

c. 600-1100

Part of a set. See all parts

Ceramic, slip

Lid: 29.9 x 38.1 cm (11 3/4 x 15 in.); Lappets: 29.9 x 38.1 cm (11 3/4 x 15 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1995.72.b

Description

At the time of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, Costa Rican mythology linked iguanas to the sky and to rulers. The earlier makers of this vessel left no written records, but they may have had similar beliefs. The lizard poses as though basking in the sun, a celestial body, and displays aggressive behaviors that could be likened to a ruler's: the teeth menace and the semi-circular dewlap beneath the chin fans fully. Also, fine ceramics like this one were buried in the graves of the high-status dead, some of them certainly leaders of the several groups that competed in the area. The vessel's function during life is unknown.

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