Tripod Jar with Birds

Tripod Jar with Birds

400–700 CE
Culture
Central Region
Country
Costa Rica
Style/Tradition
Africa
Object
jar
Medium
Modeled ceramic
Accession Number
1995.803
Credit Line
Gift of Frederick and Jan Mayer

Unknown artist, Atlantic Watershed, central region of Costa Rica. Tripod Jar with Birds, 400–700 CE. Modeled ceramic, 13 ¾ x 10 inches. Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of the Collection 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
This object is currently on view

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.