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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Terracotta Trophy Heads : Terracotta Trophy Head
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Terracotta Trophy Head - PF.3603
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high
Catalogue: V18
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
This ancient sculpture of a human head is a very impressionable image that takes hold of our attention and stirs our curiosity. The form of the head is sculpted in an exaggerated manner, accentuating the large, protruding forehead and cheeks. Its open mouth with fleshy lips is colored with brownish orange, and the forehead, cheeks, and temples are decorated with thin curving lines, possibly suggestive of facial painting or scarification. Wearing earspools, this effigy sculpture was most likely used in rituals or was created as ritual offering. The top of the head shows two round openings that suggest the sculpture's possible usage as a vessel. Or perhaps the sculpture is a symbolic representation of head-shrinking practice in Ancient Costa Rica, especially with the trophy heads. In wanting to preserve the prized trophy heads for rituals, the heads were kept in such an altered manner and this magnificent work of art hints us of the mysterious practice. Although we do not know for sure if it contained some magical substance, we certainly feel the mystical power that emanates from the sculpture. - (PF.3603)

 

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