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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Terracotta Trophy Heads : Guanacaste-Nicoya Terracotta Trophy Head
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Terracotta Trophy Head - PF.3639
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This bold and expressive image combines the utility of a vessel, with the individuality of a sculpture. The bowl rests on a pedestal base, and the crown of the head rises to the bowls flared neck. There is a raised border of incised guilloche pattern around the head, which represents headgear; there are also incised patterns on the face to resemble tattoos. The prominent eyes are almond shaped and slightly upturned, and the nose is small and angular. The modeled mouth is small and closed, and the stylized ears have pierced holes that would have once contained rings. The earthenware vessel is decorated with a burnished black slip, and has an attractive brown patina. The taking of trophy heads was of considerable importance in Costa Rica, and such representations in clay embodied religious beliefs associated with procreation. - (PF.3639)


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