Vintage Batea with pre-Columbian Golden Frog Art from Panama

Item PAN44 

This Item was Sold on 16 December 2016 for $40

Similar artifacts for sale are often found on the Panama Canal Plates web page. 

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices.

This vintage wooden plate is called a Batea in the country of Panama. It is made out of a light weight hardwood (Mahogany or Amargo Amargo) and decorated with pre-Columbian art depicting 4 golden frogs. The decorated side of the plate is in excellent condition. The reverse side has light scratches in several locations. Both sides have a shellac or varnish coating for protection.

Diameter = 34 cm (13 in) ; Weight = 438 gm (15.4 oz)

The Batea is a wooden replica of pre-Columbian ceramic plates found in the Coclé Province of Western Panama. The first Bateas were made by Diana Chiari, a well known artist and teacher who started making the wooden plates in 1935 after an attempt to market replica ceramic plates failed because of the weight and delicate nature of the ceramic plates. Eventually, the Batea became one of the most sought after collectibles by tourists who visited Panama. The art form was also taught in the local schools and art centers. I remember taking a summer class for young children in the town of Balboa in 1957 and the first craft we did was to sand down a rough Batea and paint it by hand using a template. My batea didn't look nearly as good as the one in this listing. My mother was an artist in the Panama Canal Zone and she collected native crafts. This Batea hung in our home in the 1960s, so it is probably 50 years old, but it could be older. Also, wouldn't it be nice if the artist was Diana Chiari as only her first name is signed on the back!

Most of the plates that I sell are vintage. It should be expected that these items will have some sort of wear or patina unless listed as "mint". Flaws created during the manufacturing may not be mentioned as these are part of the character of vintage or antique items. These flaws may, however, be mentioned if they cause a structural defect affecting the items integrity. I do provide large photos of each item so that you can see the condition. Thank you for your interest in this item.

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