Barakat Gallery
Login | Register | User Services | Search | Newsletter Sign-up
Barakat Gallery
HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Jade : Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Phallic Spoon
Click to view original image.
Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Phallic Spoon - PF.3179
Origin: Western Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 6" (15.2cm) high x 2.25" (5.7cm) wide x 1.125" (2.9cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Jade


Location: United States
Purchase
Currency Converter
Place On Hold
Ask a Question
Email to a Friend
Previous Item
Next Item
Description
In the context of Pre-Columbian art and archaeology, jade is a generic term that refers to any variety of hard, dense stones that were worked with great skill by native artists. Although jade is generally thought to be green, it can actually be a range of colors. Jade carving flourished in ancient Costa Rica for over a thousand years, roughly from 500 B.C. to 900 A.D., although the period of greatest artistic accomplishment lasted from 300 to 700 A.D. It is believed that jade working began during an extended period of agricultural abundance that allowed the ancient society to dedicate part of its energies toward the cultivation of artistic pursuits.

Jade was considered to be a sacred material by the ancient populations of Costa Rica, held in even higher esteem than gold. Generally, it was thought to symbolize that vital life force that sustains us all. The color green is naturally associated with verdant plant life. Specifically, jade was thought to symbolize the sprouting maize plant, that staple of the Pre-Columbian diet. It has also been suggested that jade represents water. Either way, we can be certain that jade represented the very essence of life itself.

To date, no native sources of jade have been discovered in Costa Rica, suggesting an extended trade network existed that imported this precious resource from Mesoamerica into Costa Rica where it was carved by local artists. Such trade also would have brought great wealth and likely reinforced the social stratification of the peoples. Jade may have served as a status marker to distinguish the elite from the masses and solidify their hold on power. We can picture an ancient ruler or shaman presiding over a sacred ceremonial adorned in brilliant green jade pendants and jewelry. The ancient Costa Ricans believe that the system of social hierarchy also extended into the afterlife. Therefore, jade objects were buried with the elite so that their power could be maintained throughout eternity.

The phallus is an eternal symbol from antiquity to the present. It is able to transcend the differences of time and place and is Universal. It symbolizes the perpetuation of life and active power. This is a striking example of an artist's ability to combine this significant symbol with a utilitarian function. Undoubtedly this spoon served an important part in ancient rituals. It is has been carved to perfection and exact symmetry giving formal expression to their inherent reality and perhaps the universe. The phallus is also the symbol of the propagation of cosmic forces. Universal and eternal, this is an incredible work of art that exposes mankind's desire for answers of him and the Universe. - (PF.3179)

 

Home About Us Help Contact Us Services Publications Search
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Security

Copyright (c) 2000-2017 by Barakat, Inc. All Rights Reserved

contact-form@barakatgallery.com - TEL 310.859.8408 - FAX 310.276.1346

coldfusion hosting