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Artist/Maker: Central Highlands/Atlantic Watershed (Costa Rica)

Date: ca. 1000-1550
Medium: basalt
Overall: 14 1/8 x 15 x 7 1/2 in. (35.9 x 38.1 x 19.1 cm)
Classification: Furnishings
Credit Line: Gift of Jack Sams
Object number: 76.034.010
DescriptionCarved stone thrones for rulers or leaders are found throughout Costa Rica and the Caribbean. Elevation of important individuals relates to shamanic practice and the mounting of various animals to travel into spirit worlds. This particular piece has a bird, human, and jaguar motif carved into the solid sides of the sturdy throne. As in the rest of ancient Mesoamerica, the jaguar is once again used as a symbol of political or spiritual authority. Other carved thrones from the site of Papagayo also have animal imagery, and the combination of bird, human, and jaguar suggests the ability of this leader to transcend the three realms of humans, forest, and sky. Status objects became increasingly important in the later periods prior to European contact.
Not on view