This modeled ceramic piece is kept in the capital of Colombia, specifically in the Archaeological Museum of Bogotá, where it is an outstanding piece of the legacy left by the Tairona Culture.
Actually, it is a ceramic glass, which in its front part has the figure of a male character sitting on a chair. This man has arms that look more like snakes. While his face bears an unmistakable resemblance to ape heads, to which a circular ornament has been added on his forehead, while sticking out his tongue.
Antopormorphic vessel of the Tairona culture
In addition to the uniqueness of these elements, the character's clothing and attributes are also striking, as he wears a pectoral, a belt and a headdress where the presence of several snakes is repeated again.
This piece was found during archaeological excavations carried out in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in northern Colombia. A place with great agricultural fertility that was precisely the place where the so-called Tairona Culture developed between the years 1000 and 1500.
In that area of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, among many other remains, countless pieces of pottery from this period and culture have been found. And pieces have appeared both for domestic use and for religious and ritual purposes, something that was undoubtedlydestined this fantastic glass.
These ritual uses had to do with funerary rites, but also with the crockery used to represent great personalities from the military or religious sphere of that primitive Colombian society. And of course, some of those pieces and forms would be representations of their particular divinities, about which we really do not have excessive data, beyond some representations similar to this anthropomorphic glass.
As is common in other pre-Hispanic cultures, the Colombian Taironas also resorted to the features of animals when it came to personifying their gods. And among them there is never a lack of jaguars, and of course snakes, common species in their installation areas and that were logically so feared by them that they ended up venerating them.
Those animal traits are joined to humans as in the piece we see here, whose identity we completely ignore. Although it is clear that it is a vessel for some kind of ritual or offering, made by a potter who can be considered an artist more than a craftsman.