Pair of Pedestal Plates

Date: 5th–8th century

Geography: Panama

Culture: Conte or Macaracas

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 6 in. (15.2 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Carol R. Meyer, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.307.1, .2


The images on this pair of pedestal plates depict mythical avian or saurian zoomorphs with feathered or scaled backs and chests, and clawed or multi-toed feet. Presented with open beaks and in mid-step, these creatures follow one another around the edge of the plate, head to tail, each occupying roughly half the space of the image field. Painted in brown, cream, plum, and reddish orange, the polychrome plates have similar but not exact designs. There are variations in the colors of the pedestal pattern and slight differences between the beasts, such as the red-rimmed eyes of those on one plate. This imbues the work with an air of spontaneity within the fixed composition.