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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Terracotta Trophy Heads : Terracotta Trophy Head with a Monkey Handle
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Terracotta Trophy Head with a Monkey Handle - PF.3658
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 10.75" (27.3cm) high
Catalogue: V16
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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A wonderful aspect of art is its ability to communicate many emotions at once. When an object is created with such vivacity and humor as this delightful vessel, the presence and personality of the artist is also felt. The main body of the vessel is elongated and bulbous with a narrow rim base. The face combines modeled and appliqué decoration highlighted by incised designs on the cheeks and forehead. However, the intense expression and drama of the face elevates it far above mere decoration. Its character is very pronounced, with eyes staring at us with a mixture of curiosity and confidence, while the mouth is open in a wide grin displaying perfect teeth. A beautifully shaped monkey serves as the handle. His back is arched so he can grab securely onto the rim, while his head is turned as if in surprise. The face and monkey join to form a harmonious pair, both artistically and in personality. It is possible we are seeing an artist's abstract depiction of a shaman with his 'familiar' in the animal world. Whatever the original intent, this vessel is one of those rare objects that will continue to fascinate and amuse regardless of time and place. - (PF.3658)


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