Tripod Jar with Birds

Tripod Jar with Birds

AD 400-700
Culture
Central Region
Country
Costa Rica
Style/Tradition
Africa
jar
Modeled clay, colored brown through reduction firing techniques, with applique, incision and tool-impressed decoration.
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer
1995.803
. Tripod Jar with Birds. AD 400-700. Modeled clay, colored brown through reduction firing techniques, with applique, incision and tool-impressed decoration.. Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer. 1995.803.
Dimensions
height: 13 3/4 in, 34.9250 cm; diameter: 10 in, 25.4000 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Tripod Jar with Birds
Africa ceramic style
About A.D. 400–700
Costa Rica, Central region
Earthenware
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 1995.803

The Africa ceramic type is named after the Africa neighborhood of Guácimo, Limón.  The tall, hollow legs of Africa tripods contain ceramic balls that rattle when the vessel is moved.  Many excavated specimens have sooty deposits on the exterior base, indicating that they were used directly over hot coals, probably to heat liquids.  

Modeled on each leg is a raptor, apparently swooping down to capture a snake.  The birds are depicted with physical and behavioral characteristics of several species: falcon, vulture, and harpy eagle, and are thus likely to be mythical creatures.