Ecology and the arts in ancient Panama: On the development by Olga Linares

By Olga Linares

Olga Linares bargains a reinterpretation of the vintage rank-societies of the vital Panamanian provinces in response to archaeological, ecological, iconographic, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic facts, and concludes that the paintings sort of this quarter used animal motifs as a metaphor in expressing the features of aggression and hostility attribute of social and political existence within the valuable provinces.

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Extra info for Ecology and the arts in ancient Panama: On the development of social rank and symbolism in the central provinces (Studies in pre-Colombian art and archaeology)

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Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge. McN. L. Fig. 29 Polychrome plates showing designs with facing symmetries. (left) Sitio Conte, Coclé province. Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge. L. (right) Coclé province. Museo Nacional de Panamá, Panama City. S. quite often we see two heads on the same body or at either end of a serpentine motif. In addition, a third foot or an additional arm often appears to fill an empty space. This brings up another characteristic of this polychrome art: the dislike of empty space.

Curl the tail of the Y to the right and you produce a form which may be symbolized by the letters YC. Joining two C’s together with one inverted below the other forms the letter S. Joining two V’s together with one inverted forms the letter X. In actual practice, the procedure here described for making the YC scroll was reversed. The artist probably started, as Lothrop suggests, by drawing a sinuous baseline, to which were appended curled-over spirals facing in opposite directions (Fig. 23b). Then the top and bottom of these were “sketched in” and subsequently filled with black.

The first was a monochrome or unpainted class relying for decoration primarily on “plastic” techniques—mostly incising, punctation, appliqué, or bas-relief. Of this pottery Lothrop remarks that it was found largely in the “refuse deposit” of nearby sites (Loma de los Muertos and Héctor Conte). But later he points out that several vessels of this class have turned up in Sitio Conte graves also. Apparently, then, some of these wares looked foreign to him, more typical of other sites in the area, and others had an “early” look to them.

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