Carbonera Gold Pendant of a Shaman Wearing a Double-Headed Saurian Mask - FJ.6422
Origin: Costa Rican/Panamanian Border Area
Circa: 500 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Carbonera
Medium: Gold

The central figure is surrounded by a braided rope-like border with four scrolls on each side. Beautifully modeled double crocodile heads face in opposite directions, a braided rope is tethered from the mouths to the chests, attached to the breastplate by a snake-head ornament similar to the one over the groin area. The figure's knees are bent, his feet have six toes made of twisted wire, trapezoidal hands grip tightly to the surrounding border. Extending from the ankles and waist are two pairs of stylized crocodile heads, composed of open work filigree for the mouths, tiny eyes and inverted triangles suggesting scuds. Though gold was abundant in ancient Costa Rica, the highly skilled artists needed to create work of arts as this one were not plentiful. Such objects were made for the ruling elite, either as symbols of prestige, of status or simply as ornamentation. This pendant probably served a shaman-priest who used the crocodile as a symbol for physical strength and otherworldly power. It is quite probable great shamans wore such costumes as depicted on this fabulous pendant in elaborate ritual ceremonies. - (FJ.6422)