Lid of Bowl with Iguana

c. 600–1100 (Thermoluminescence date, 995–1395)
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.)
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Did You Know?

Green iguanas can grow to be over 6 feet long.


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 assumes an aggressive stance that could be likened to a ruler's: the teeth and chin under the dewlap are displayed, Also, fine ceramics like this were buried in the graves of the high-status dead, some of them certainly leaders of the several groups that competed in the area.
Lid of Bowl with Iguana

Lid of Bowl with Iguana

c. 600–1100 (Thermoluminescence date, 995–1395)

Costa Rica, Southern Nicoya region

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