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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Sculptures : Basalt Sculpture Of A Warrior
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Basalt Sculpture Of A Warrior - PF.2741
Origin: Costa Rica (Atlantic Watershed)
Circa: 1000 AD to 1550 AD
Dimensions: 18.5" (47.0cm) high
Catalogue: V14
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: Great Britain
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This imposing masterpiece of stone carving was made on the Atlantic Watershed region of Costa Rica, Central America. The identity of the person portrayed could not be any clearer. The warrior stands with left hand raised victoriously, the right hand holding the severed head of what one assumes to have been his enemy. The right hand holds the remains of what appears to be a weapon of some sort. The status of warriors was high in most Mesoamerican societies, and this is confirmed by the ornamental belt and skullcap that he wears. The victim also appears to have been of high status, and still wears his skullcap. It is also possible that this sculpture refers to the famous Mesoamerican ballgame, which was played in an open court and the losers were sacrificed in what was apparently viewed as an honour.

Large sculptures such as this were displayed in public as devotional objects. It was not a shrine figure as such, but was designed to demonstrate the potency and might of elites, either aristocratic and/or sporting. The quality of the carving is extremely high, especially given the unforgiving nature of the raw material (basalt). This is a well-observed and exquisitely carved piece of ancient art.

- (PF.2741)


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