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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Terracotta Trophy Heads : Terracotta Trophy Head
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Terracotta Trophy Head - PF.4330
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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To the Costa Ricans, human head effigy vessels represented a prisoner of war or a sacrificial victim. These vessels were known as trophy heads. The artist's craftsmanship captures the realistic nature of this piece. The artist took considerable time to depict the exactness of emotion of this victim. The face is very distinguished and carefully painted. The eyes are almond shaped and there are indentations around the eye giving it the appearance that they are bulging out. There are some tribal markings on the face, but more attention is paid to the nose and mouth. They are both very pronounced, especially the lips that are shaped in a pouting expression as if this person is gasping for air. This effect gives the face a surprised expression. The hair is finely drawn in black paint and it frames the face. The top portion of the vessel is painted in a stylized alligator motif. The alligator is adorned with scales and claws showing off the alligator’s ferociousness. - (PF.4330)


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