Bowl with Lizards

Date: 1st–5th century

Geography: Costa Rica

Culture: Atlantic Watershed

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H x Diam.: 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (13.3 x 14.6 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Hollihan III, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.79.3


The simple shape of this wide-mouthed jar is elaborated by the presence of three-dimensional bodies of abstract lizards or alligators presented as an identical repeated form around the vessel body. The segmented reptilian creatures were added to the finished jar after its upper surface received an allover patterning of diagonal grooves. The three lizards are formed by individual pieces of clay appliquéd to the vessel, creating bodies that crawl up the wall and tails that curve around and terminate on the underside of the flared lip. The jar is slipped on the lower portion of the exterior, on the lip, and in the interior. Although the reptilian forms are abstract, there is a degree of reality, as they appear to rest in stillness like those that soak up the midday sun.