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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Peru : Tiahuanaco Stone Idol
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Tiahuanaco Stone Idol - PF.5101
Origin: Tiahuanaco, Peru
Circa: 200 BC to 1250 AD
Dimensions: 5.75" (14.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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One of the most mysterious of all Pre-Columbian settlements, the monumental structures of Tiahuanaco was built as a place of pilgrimage. In its early period Tiahuanaco was the religious center of the empire, run by an elite class of priests backed by military force. Art served as an expression of religious fervor; whether in the form of great monoliths or small statues the cuboid style is essentially the same. This fascinating statue represents a deity, possibly the sun god whom the people of Tiahuanaco worshiped. The face is rectangular, cut at an angle with an open mouth and large flat nose. The penetrating eyes are horizontal rectangles with oblong centers simulating pupils. Clever incising in a meander pattern on either side of the shoulders gives the impression of arms, while the pattern on the chest area, and narrower lower portion, adds dimension and depth. As with the other ancient cultures, the Tiahuanaco civilization came to an abrupt end. Some scholars believe they set sail across the Pacific and settled on Easter Island, whose great statues uncannily resemble this very powerful statue. - (PF.5101)


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