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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Sculptures : Sculpted Masked Figure In Volcanic Stone
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Sculpted Masked Figure In Volcanic Stone - PF.2318
Origin: Costa Rica (Atlantic Watershed)
Circa: 700 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 15.375" (39.1cm) high
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Masterfully carved from a single piece of volcanic rock with only stone and wood tools plus abrasives, this dynamic masked figure is a splendid example of the ancient Pre-Columbian sculptural artistry of the Costa Rican area. Caught in attested motion, ready to rise at a moment's notice, the finely carved figure wears a fantastic alligator mask, replete with powerful teeth and curling snout. His spectacular two- tiered headdress recalls the Costa-Rican stools of similar shape that are also adorned with alligator masks. While the figure's right hand rests on his leg, his left hand clutches a necklace, the ornament forever a mystery behind the deftly carved fingers. Is this mystical figure the representation of a chief or a shaman? Who are the gods that he reverentially addresses? Clearly, his symbolic mask and headdress denote a person of spiritual rank and power. A magnificent rendering of three-dimensional form, this masked figure captivates us as we sense his barely-harnessed motion and feel the power and energy of his reptilian visage. The admirable harmonizing naturalistic rendering and an energetic spirit makes this figure a masterpiece of Pre-Columbian sculpture art. - (PF.2318)


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