Vessel in the form of an opossum

Vessel in the form of an opossum
Veraguas culture, 500-1000 CE
Pottery ; H. 22 cm
Inv. AAM.89.1.14

The cultures of Panama were influenced by those of Central America -  Costa Rica in particular - and Colombia. In addition to producing goldwork and stone sculptures, the craftsmen of the Veraguas culture were brilliant potters. They mastered the techniques of firing and could manipulate colours ranging from beige to black, with highlights of ochre and violet. Found in a tomb, this piece has a rare subject treated in an unusual manner - sculpture in the round. It is either an opossum or a coati, an omnivorous animal with an elongated snout that lives in the tropical forest. The pose of the animal, sitting on its hind legs, and the colouration of the fur were closely observed by the pre-Columbian artisan.


Discover this masterpiece on the online museum catalogue Carmentis, in the book Masterpieces and in our galleries America.