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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Terracotta Polychrome Seated Female Figure
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Terracotta Polychrome Seated Female Figure - PF.3849
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
The two most striking aspects of this fascinating figure are the body paint and the body posture. The intricate design work covers the figure from head to toe, not merely to cover the surface area but to present a type of iconographic 'map'. The cross and circle appear on the face and shoulders, the former evolving into a connected series of crosses on the lower part of the legs and on either side of the chest. Bold red circles covering the breasts are contrasted with large black eyes staring with great intensity. On her stomach is a black design similar to a Maltese cross with the belly button at the center. Two unusual aspects of the body are the feet turned inwards and the left hand placed behind on the upper thigh (which may have been a posture for giving birth.) Her large hips and extended stomach all indicate this is a fertility figure. As such she would have been important both as a symbol of life and the life giving ability of women, admired as much for her magical properties as for her aesthetic beauty. - (PF.3849)

 

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