Panama, Río Jesús, Veraguas
Coclé Culture

Large Plate with Crocodile Symbols

9th-15th Century

Polychrome terracotta

Gift of Dr. Mark Sheppard


This Coclé dish from the late-period displays an elaborate, inventive design of nine crocodiles.  The plate is divided horizontally through its center by a wide panel displaying a dominant frontal image of the eyes and wide mouth of the beast.  This central mask is flanked on the panel’s extreme ends by inverted profiles of crocodiles.  In a second, divided panel, which runs vertically above and beneath the horizontal one, a full-figure crocodile is shown in profile in each section.  Four additional crocodiles in circular patterns fill the remaining spaces and complete the balanced formality of the round unit. 

More works of art in the category: Art of the Americas

32 works of art See all
  • Standing Figure

  • Seated Figure

  • Spoon in the Shape of a Dragon Head

Other ways to explore the collection