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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Galo Polychrome Standing Female Figure
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Galo Polychrome Standing Female Figure - PF.3397
Origin: Costa Rica (Guanacaste)
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 21" (53.3cm) high
Catalogue: V18
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
This standing female figure comes from the Guanacaste-Nicoya polychrome tradition, the Galo polychrome style. Among such sculptures are the full human figures with elaborate representations of tattoos or body paint. Such 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 Nicoyan's 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. This beautiful sculpture seems to be an image of a young woman right out of a daily life scene in Ancient Costa Rica. Her femininity is wonderfully accentuated by the wide eyes on her young face, and her feminine beauty shown by her decorated breasts, and large hips--the signs of fertility and birth--makes the figure seem like a young Goddess. This concept of fertility was very important in Ancient Meso-America. This marvelous figure was perhaps part of a ritual wishing for fertility, and prosperity. This figure is embellished with body paint, which is highly symbolic due to the intricate geometric patterns. The smooth surface and the graceful curves' of the sculpture soothe our eyes. Through the geometry this unknown artist has created a woman richly symbolic of her time period. We continue today to marvel at the timeless beauty of this woman. - (PF.3397)

 

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