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Currently shown

Papagayo Polychrome-style Standing Female Figure

Location

NICARAGUA, WESTERN REGION

Era

Sapoá Period (800-1350)

Culture

Greater Nicoya

Title

Papagayo Polychrome-style Standing Female Figure

Materials

Earthenware, slip, painted decoration

Dimensions

28.5 x 17.5 x 11 cm

Credits

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lorne C. Webster, inv. 1972.Ac.72

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Representations of female shamans (awa) abound in the Greater Nicoya region. With the power to enter into communication with other worlds and the spirits present in nature, they were often depicted as hybrid figures undergoing transformation. This example bares its teeth, reminiscent of fangs; the large eyes underline the importance of visions during shamanic trances. The plumed serpent shown on the headdress may illustrate what the awa sees. As for the body ornaments, they correspond to those worn by the region’s inhabitants. The complex patterns adorning the torso of this figure likely allude to the body painting created using carved roller stamps.

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