Temporary Exhibition Galleries
- Categorized in: Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
Temporary Exhibition Galleries
Pre-Columbian representations of wild felines featured in exhibition
All of the species of wild felines in our country were represented throughout all of Costa Rica in all of the pre-Columbian periods, using various materials and techniques.
Why did pre-Columbian artists represent this species in such a consistent manner? This, and much more will be revealed in the new exhibition Felines in Costa Rican Archaeology: Past and Present.
“In Costa Rica there are six wild species of felines: the jaguar, the ocelot, the oncilla, the margay, the cougar and the jaguarundi. They are all found here”, states Patricia Fernández, archaeological curator of the Museum.
This exhibition consists of 50 stone, gold and clay objects dating back from 300 BC up to 1,500 AD. Most of the pieces belong to the Central Bank collection. Additionally, pieces from the National Museum and the Jade Museum will also be displayed.
“We set ourselves two goals when planning this exhibition: on one hand, we wanted to identify the various species of felines represented in the materials; on the other hand, we wanted to showcase these species, which are so important in ancient and present-day indigenous people's cosmogony and are nowadays threatened with extinction” Patricia Fernández explained.
Eduardo Carrillo, from the National University, and Gustavo Gutiérrez, from the University of Costa Rica, both biologists and experts in the subject, offered valuable input in the research process by identifying the various felines in archaeological material.
A publication with the same name, prepared by Carrillo and Gutiérrez, together with Fernández, the archaeologist, accompanies the exhibition. This was possible thanks to the support of Panthera, an organization dedicated to the conservation of felines, and to the Evergreen Foundation, through the Nectandra Institute, an organization working to conserve the cloud forest by means of education, scientific research and water supply management. This publication will be available in our store.
This exhibition will help visitors learn a little more about the origin of this species and its present-day predicament, appreciate the different pieces that were identified based on the felines living in our territory and appraise the different styles and techniques with which these animals were depicted in different regions and periods.
This exhibition also addresses another important topic: the myths involving this species to date and the symbolism that made them a steadfast presence not only in the past, but also in present days.
“Felines were a part of ancient civilization symbology, be it because of their habits and abilities or because of their physical traits. Characteristics such as strength, agility and ferociousness were incorporated to human figures, symbolized as feline facial features or spotted skin”” asserts Fernández.
The exhibition will also show Cruzada Jaguar, a video made by Producciones UNA Mirada, as well as an interactive game, which will allow visitors to recognize all six felines of Costa Rican fauna that were represented and some of their main features.