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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Weapons : Atlantic Watershed Jade Avian Mace Head
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Atlantic Watershed Jade Avian Mace Head - PF.2672
Origin: Eastern Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high x 5.75" (14.6cm) wide
Catalogue: V14
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Jade

Location: UAE
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Because of its incomparable beauty and incredible strength, jade was believed by the Ancient Costa Ricans to possess the qualities of both power and magic. Therefore, Costa Rican artists carved this unique mineral, creating spirited works of art that gave tangible substance to their ancient myths. Here we experience one such sculptural masterpiece, a mace head carved in the form of a stylized bird. Probably functioning as a ceremonial badge of power or the emblem of a particular clan, this spirited mace head was originally mounted on a wooden staff and ceremoniously carried by its owner. The carved bird image symbolizes the original owner or clan's affinity with avian creatures, for the ability of birds to reside in the two worlds of land and air was a characteristic much admired and respected by the Ancient Costa Ricans. As we observe the creatively sculpted beak of the jade bird, our eye is drawn to the underside of its beak, where the carved image of a man's head appears, as if emerging from the bird's chest. Clearly, this human image becomes an added symbol, one that emphasizes the remarkable bond that was forged between the Ancient Costa Ricans and the natural world surrounding them. - (PF.2672)


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