Avian effigy vessel - ROM2019_17478_13


Avian effigy vessel

Geography: Atlantic watershed, Costa Rica
12.8 × 9.3 × 7.4 cm
Object number: 2018.11.12
Credit Line: Gift of Philip and Marian Brady
Not on view

This vessel depicts a bird and may have held the hallucinogenic “snuff” substance shamans intake to experience that out-of-body flight into the spiritual realm. Birds were seen as otherworldly in ancient Costa Rica due to their connections with the land, sky, and water that tied the cosmos together. Because of the vast expanse of the world they could reach, birds could communicate with spirits, and thus shamans typically adorned themselves with avian features and imagery to stimulate their out-of-body flight into the spiritual realm.

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