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Maska, Jamakoa culture, Ecuador, circa 500 AD

Museum object, VI century, 16.5×15 cm

Description of the artwork «Maska, Jamakoa culture, Ecuador, circa 500 AD»

The ceramic mask reflects the moment of the shaman's transformation. Human features (eyes, ears, nose) are mixed with feline features (huge fangs, tufts of hair on the chin). The symbolism of cats (jaguar) in the shamanic magic rites of the jamakoa was of particular importance. Jaguar is a powerful predator, the personification of strength, is able to see in the dark and overcome any obstacles (water, land, trees, etc.). The status of the wearer of the mask is also emphasized by the adornments in the ears and nose.

Visions of shamanic transformation, probably triggered by the use of coca leaves, were one of the leading themes of depiction in Jamakoa pottery, in contrast to previous Ecuadorian traditions of focusing on the depiction of the body.

The small size of the mask (width 16.5 cm, height 15 cm) is due to the way it is worn. It was not superimposed on the face, but was attached in the forehead area, towering above the headdress and not blocking the wearer's face.

Width 16.5 cm, height 15 cm.

2019 - "Hero, Sun and Terrible Bird", BKTs im. M.A. Voloshin.

No intervention. Well preserved pigment.

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About the artwork

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Art form: Museum object

Materials: Clay, Pigments

Date of creation: VI century

Size: 16.5×15 cm

Location: A-Gallery