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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Stone Trophy Heads : Atlantic Watershed Trophy Head
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Atlantic Watershed Trophy Head - PF.3704
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD

Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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The massive stone head with a stoic face carries an unusual ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence. Estranged from the body, the stone head's almond-shaped eyes and beautifully crafted mouth create an esoteric mystery. The hair is rendered in an incised pattern that is flat on top. However, directly on top is a small monkey grasping onto the hair as if clinging to its mother. Such a stone head is a symbol of human sacrificial rituals that were common in Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took trophy heads in battles for human 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 gods, conquests and wars became their fight to obtain the perfect victim for the sacrifice. The unique coiffure suggests that the sculpture is an image of a specific individual. The idea of the Costa Rican rainforest is enhanced with the small monkey who sits on top of the head that also brings a distinct uniqueness to the piece without allowing it to lose its significance. - (PF.3704)


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