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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Stone Trophy Heads : Basalt Trophy Head
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Basalt Trophy Head - PF.2966
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 6.25" (15.9cm) high x 6.25" (15.9cm) wide x 7.25" (18.4cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This basalt stone head with a stoic face carries an unusual ambience, as if it wishes to reveal a story. Its facial features are created with simple incision lines and the closed eyes and the mouth create a stoic and esoteric expression. The basalt stone head also wears a flat cap, which is, enhanced with incision lines. Such peculiar stone head is a symbol of human sacrificial ritual, which was a common practice in the Ancient Costa Rican region. People of this period took the trophy heads in battle for human sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the cycle of agricultural fertility. One main purpose of these conquests and wars were to capture victims for human sacrifice. Moreover, the extreme extent the ancient people went through to perform human sacrifice indicates the belief in humble position of humans who are at the mercy of God. People performed human sacrifice to please the God, so that the God would understand human needs such as agricultural prosperity. As a symbol of such serious human sacrificial ritual, the stone head indicates the people's desire for God's benevolence and their willingness to offer the best for God's mercy. - (PF.2966)


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