This seated tapir vessel is typical of such pieces belonging to a distinct pottery style , called the Papagayo tradition, traditional to the Pacific Northwest of Costa Rica. Such regional aesthetics to be found in this piece are such elements as the hunched, seated animal (tapirs, armadillos, jaguars, king vultures etc.), the cream coloured background, and abstracted references to jaguars and plumed-serpents on the neck rings.
These Papagayo pots were very sought after by the elite during this era throughout lower Central America as chronicled by the Spanish explorers who also admired the pottery traditions from this region. The cultures that were making such pieces are clearly from the Mesoamerican material and esoteric traditions. The Guanacaste/Nicoya region is the southern-most extent of Mesoamerica.