The warrior class of ancient Costa Rica utilized
art to their advantage by employing talented
sculptors and ceramic artists to represent
themselves and their exploits in the medium of
stone and terracotta. 'Imperishable' materials
such as volcanic stone were usually reserved for
objects intended as funerary accouterments;
though items of such durable substances
designed for household use cannot be ruled out.
Some freestanding trophy heads, such as this
excellent example, may be stone versions of the
shrunken heads of captives taken in battle.
Warriors would proudly display these prizes as
symbols of victory, and wish for their trophies to
be immortalized in stone. This head is in the
classic style, with thin slits for eyes, bold
elongated chin and small textured cap. It is
possible this head is a portrait of a great warrior
himself. Whether captive or conqueror, the proud
bearing and handsome features makes this head
a noble example of the ancient Costa Rican male.