Materializing Ritual: Sorcery, Transformation, and Divination in Greater Nicoya

Author(s): Carrie Dennett; Lorelei Platz

Year: 2017


Themes involving spiritual transformation have long been noted in the material culture of pre-Columbian Greater Nicoya, with standardized ritual imagery appearing in local Sapoá period (AD 800-1250) ceramic type-classes such as Papagayo and Pataky Polychromes. A recent iconographic re-evaluation suggests that at least some varieties from these ‘independent types’ were designed to work together, to complement one another in both ritual messaging and formal function. Here we focus explicitly on the relationship between Pataky Polychrome, Pataky variety, effigy head vessels and Papagayo Polychrome, Alfredo variety, bowls. Together, this unique ‘set’ appears to portray a sorcerer in the act of spiritual—and arguably entheogen-induced—transformation. The bowl likely served a dual-purpose role in the presentation of the entheogen at consumption and as a ‘substance receptacle’ (divinatory ‘vomit-catcher’) for the sorcerer’s subsequent purge.

Cite this Record

Materializing Ritual: Sorcery, Transformation, and Divination in Greater Nicoya. Carrie Dennett, Lorelei Platz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429058)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15041