Pre-Columbian, Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula, ca. 800 to 1200 CE. A finely hand-built, egg-shaped, footed vessel with an extensively decorated surface presenting two mesmerizing mythical creatures - most likely variants of Kukulkan/Quetzalcoatl - on opposite sides of the exterior walls, finely delineated in red, orange, and black on a cream ground. Kukulkan, the Mayan version of Quetzalcoatl, was a powerful "feathered serpent" venerated throughout ancient Mesoamerica. The ancients of Costa Rica traded with the Mayans and probably saw imagery of this magical creature during these exchanges. Each figure wears an elaborate plumed headdress adorned by stylized feathers and/or serpentine forms, and is brandishing elaborate feathered forms emerging from his beak. Above and just below the rim is a banded register with one of the bands containing abstract serpentine forms. The foot is painted a tawny orange. A very special example with well-preserved decorative/iconographic program. Size: 8.5" in diameter x 10.25" H (21.6 cm x 26 cm)Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan was a powerful god among the indigenous of the Americas. Kukulkan's meaning to the Maya world is not fully understood, but we know that for the Aztecs, the same figure is associated with the wind, the creation of arts and crafts, and knowledge. In addition, a serpent is sometimes used in Mayan iconography as the embodiment of the sky itself. According to the pioneering Mexican artist/anthropologist Miguel Covarrubias, whose classic tomes and illustrations continue to contribute to scholarly studies today, "Quetzalcoatl stood for all that was good in this world: peace, art, wisdom, and prosperity. Disguised as an ant, he discovered maize, the staple food of the Indians, hidden under the mountain of Substance, Tonacatepetl; he also invented the arts, the sciences, and the calendar. In fact, everything connected with wisdom and culture was attributed to Quetzalcoatl." (Miguel Covarrubias, Mexico South: The Isthmus of Tehuantepec (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1946), p. 130.) Provenance: private Arcadia, California, USA collection, acquired over twenty years ago All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids. We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience. #136371
Expected surface wear showing normal scuffs and scratches commensurate with age. Chips and nicks to the rim and base. Nice root marks and scattered manganese deposits. Black felt strips on underside of base.