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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Weapons : Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Avian Mace Head
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Avian Mace Head - PF.3015
Origin: Western Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 2.25" (5.7cm) high x 3.25" (8.3cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Jade

Location: United States
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This particular jade mace head has a rough surface quality unlike many other Costa Rican jade works. It depicts a bird with its large body. Emphasized to fit onto a pole. The rough surface indicates that this work of art is unfinished, or that possibly the layer of polished surface has disappeared with time. This uneven and rough quality, however, makes the jade mace head beautiful and unique--the earthy and natural quality reveals human handwork traces. One can feel the laborious process the artist went through to make this charming shape of a bird. Such mace heads in Costa Rica identified specific tribes, and they were also used in ritualistic ceremonies. Although tribal identification of Ancient Costa Rica is unknown, this jade bird mace head perhaps signified a powerful tribe. Birds, especially condors and eagles, had a magical and religious connotation, often representing gods. Looking at this jade bird in a process of transformation, one can imagine the significance this bird was to carry its responsibility of representing a powerful tribe. - (PF.3015)


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