Two Flat Stamps

Atlantic Watershed

Not on view

Ceramic stamps are found in Costa Rican burials, suggesting that their importance extended beyond utilitarian. Much speculation has been made with regard to the material that these stamps were intended to imprint, including paper, textiles, and the human body. The curved shape of the printing surface supports the function of body painting most strongly. This theory is reinforced by the presence of stamp motifs on Costa Rican ceramic figure sculpture. The designs of the stamps can be divided into two categories, those that mimic the geometricity of textile structure and those that do not. The frog stamp, with the angular lines of an amphibian, falls into the category of textile imagery, whereas the more fluid depiction of the serpent is derived from a more naturalistic source.

Two Flat Stamps, Ceramic, Atlantic Watershed

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Overall front.