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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Galo Polychrome Seated Female Figure
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Galo Polychrome Seated Female Figure - PF.3380
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 9.75" (24.8cm) high
Catalogue: V16
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: UAE
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Description
This seated female figure comes from the Guanacaste-Nicoya polychrome tradition, the Galo polychrome style. Its mirror-bright burnished surfaces are technically unsurpassed by any Pre-Columbian pottery, and yellows, reds, oranges, creams, maroons, and blacks of the polychrome decorations are impressively vivid. Among such sculptures are the full human figures with elaborate representations of tattoos or body paint. Such a brilliant polychrome tradition represents an important social dimension; when the northern trade network that brought jade, slate backed pyrite mirrors, foreign ceramics, and other luxury goods, the Nicoyans responded by producing their own special purpose pottery. Inspired by northern models, it also incorporated local and southern elements, forming a dazzling hybrid style that was traded around Central America and southern Meso-America in the centuries to come. Elaborately decorated with colors and patterns, this sculpted female sits proudly, like a dignified noble woman. A fine example of Galo polychrome figures, she provides a wealth of ethnographic detail because of the realistic style. Her flat coiffure, decorated loincloth, earspools, and body painting or tattooing are all vividly shown. Moreover, the decorative painting around her realistic eyes and her nose accentuates the sculptural quality and drama of her bold face. With her face held up straight and her hands firmly placed on her thighs, this woman appears regal and goddess-like, demanding our attention with her physical presence. - (PF.3380)

 

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