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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Polychrome Standing Female
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Polychrome Standing Female - PF.4276
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 300 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 12.75" (32.4cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This figure is a poignant example of the respect women attained in this ancient culture. This female effigy sculpture is standing in an erect and sturdy position. She is a very assuring individual. Her shoulders protrude out and loop around with her hands placed on her stomach. The most striking feature is the body tattooing. It is intricate in design, but balanced in its artistic rendering. Black wavy vertical lines begin on the right side of her body covering one breast and then stopping at the waist. This design begins again on the opposite (left) leg. The left side of her chest is patterned after the print of an animal. This pattern also stops at the waist and then continues on the opposite leg. The tattoo is a pattern of black spots in the middle of stylized diamond shapes. To emphasis these designs and create a balance of serenity and peace the artist was very conscious to create an evenness and fluidity by paying close attention to the colors and the tattoos itself. The hands and feet are both painted in red. The waistband and her pubic region are covered in geometrical patterns. She has a beautiful design on her forehead and cheeks that highlight her wonderful features. Her mouth is partially opened and the lips are painted in red. Her eyes are wide-open staring straightforward evoking wisdom and knowledge. The eyes are painted in black and the eyebrows increase the depth of the power of this face. Her ears are pierced adorned with red ear spools. The waistband wraps around the whole of her figure. The designs on this figure are a mystery to our twentieth century knowledge of Pre-Colombian art. Could these tribal tattoos be the prints of animals from the Costa Rican jungle? Or are these the patterns of a high- ranking fertility Goddess? Whether we ever find the answers to these questions, we can still appreciate the bold lines and patterns that this talented artist rendered. - (PF.4276)


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