'Dis'-abilities as Divine: Bodily Anomalies and Shamanic Power in Ancient Costa Rican Ceramic Effigies Open Access

Parks, Sarah Victoria (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/fj236284n?locale=en


This thesis explores various physical anomalies depicted in several Pre-Columbian Costa Rican ceramic effigies of shamans and proposes modern medical identifications for the anomalies. The medical understandings of Klinefelter's Syndrome, Scoliosis, Leishmaniasis, and other conditions are applied to the effigies demonstrating particular symptoms in order to further explore shamanic beliefs and cultural issues. Shamanic concepts of liminality, transformation, healing, and fertility are discussed in relation to the manner in which the bodily anomalies of particular diseases could affect the shaman's abilities. By suggesting modern terms of diseases and congenital conditions demonstrated by these shamanic effigies, the connection between shamanic power and atypical body types can be more comprehensible and accessible to interdisciplinary researchers.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: Shamans Between the Sexes 9

Chapter 2: Transformational Bones 20

Chapter 3: Ambiguous Anomalousness 31

Conclusion 40

Bibliography 44

List of Figures 48

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