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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Stone Trophy Heads : Basalt Trophy Head
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Basalt Trophy Head - PF.3608
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 7.75" (19.7cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide x 6.25" (15.9cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This basalt stone head with an impressionable face carries an unusual ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence and beauty, like that of a real human head. Estranged from the body, the stone head's closed eyes and mouth create an esoteric mystery. The small head is simple and elegant in its form and essence. It is also very delicate and expressive of the power and charisma; its almond-shaped eyes are deep, casting soft shadows and the cheekbones and nose are delicately rendered. The closed mouth is shown with one bold incision lines, and the flat headdress is also decorated with repeating incision lines. Furthermore, the center of the headdress is perforated with a horizontal structure, possibly indicative of symbolic meaning. Such beautiful basalt head is a symbol of human sacrificial ritual, which was a common practice in Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took the trophy heads in battles for sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the agricultural fertility. Because of the strong belief in human sacrifice and pleasing the god, conquests and wars became their fight to obtain the perfect victims for the sacrifice. Meso- Americans believed in their humble position and their duty to offer the best for God's mercy. Their prosperity depended upon human sacrifice and this trophy head well indicates the people's desire for God's benevolence. - (PF.3608)


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