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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Pre-Columbian Jewelry : Gold Pectoral Plaque of a Shaman Wearing a Saurian Costume
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Gold Pectoral Plaque of a Shaman Wearing a Saurian Costume - FJ.6323
Origin: Panama
Circa: 8 th Century AD to 12 th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.75" (14.6cm) high x 5.75" (14.6cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: 98.5 Grams/heather

Location: United States
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The use of saurian (crocodile) imagery in zoomorphic and anthropomorphic form is common both in Panamanian gold jewelry and in ceramics. The similarity in style between these two mediums suggests a ritualistic connection, probably directly related to shamanism. Certain features on this fabulous pectoral are typical of the genre--the square face with large, staring eyes; flaring nostrils; and fierce, sharp-pointed teeth. The feet and hands are like the claws of a crocodile or iguana. The figure (probably male) wears a headdress with two heads attached on either side very similar to the main character's face. This may represent the actual costume worn by a shaman/priest during ceremonies. One of the most striking and attractive elements of Pre-Columbian art of Panama is the highly refined sense of balance and equilibrium seen in the mirror-image patterns. There is a wonderful feeling of absolute harmony in this plaque, which is at once very ornate, and yet quite simple in structure. It is known that shamans (sorcerers) were sometimes artists, bringing two disciplines together to create an art that reflects the perfect order of the Universe; resonating on a background of pure gold like the sun. - (FJ.6323)


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