Figurine - HO462_1



Geography: Diquis zone, Costa Rica
Date: AD 1200 - 1550
7 × 6.77 × 4.53 cm
Object number: HO462
Not on view

This anthropomorphic figure depicts a seated individual with a pronounced snout.  The individual may be a shaman in the midst of a transformation into a bird or alligator. Birds were seen as otherworldly animals in ancient Costa Rica due to their connection with the land, sky, and water. Because of the vast expanse of the world they could reach, they were associated with the ability to communicate with spirits, and thus shamans typically adorn themselves with avian attributes as a metaphor for their shamanic flight to the spirit world. Alligators, likewise, were spiritually-charged animals because of their ability to traverse land and water, but were feared predators. 

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