MAm 04991

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Tripod container (bowl)

Americas, Costa Rica Highlands, Desamparados

Prior to 1911


F. W. Matthias (engineer, merchant)

Purchased by the museum from Matthias in 1911

MAm 04991

This bowl was made of red fired clay, modeled with a reddish brown slip. The three standing feet are sculpted as alligators/lizards and extended over the wall, the feet are hollowed out and fitted with balls (rattle/rattle feet). This style appears to have been common in the south of what is now Costa Rica and is influenced by the ceramic craft of the Chiriqui culture in western Panama.

The collector, the engineer and dealer F.W. Matthias from Hamburg, sold some archaeological finds to the museum in 1911. In doing so, he gave Desamparados near the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose, as the place of discovery.  A survey of the Leipzig collection of pre-Hispanic "Central American" objects shows conspicuously few pieces attributable to the Aztecs, even among those objects destroyed during World War 2. This is particularly striking since visitor interest has  focused on Aztec and Mayan cultures until today.

Frank Usbeck