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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Skull Masks and Sculptures : Guanacaste-Nicoya Stone Skull Mask
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Stone Skull Mask - PF.3529
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high
Catalogue: V18
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: UAE
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Carved of a light beige stone, this skull mask is captivating. The surface color and texture of the mask resembles the real human bone, creating more mysterious and unforgettable image and essence. Its large hollow eyes and the high cheekbones show distinct physical structure, which add to the realistic portrayal of the skull. The mouth is open wide to display the intricately rendered teeth. In addition to the four small holes around the mask, both ends of the teeth by the jaws are hollowed out, perhaps for a significant functional or a symbolic purpose. Conveying the idea of death and after-life, this mask most likely was created as a ritual offering or as a funerary mask. The concept of death did not mean the end for Ancient Meso-Americans but a step that everyone must take to enter the underworld and the after-life. Accepting the natural cycle of human life, Meso-Americans were not afraid to confront the concept of death. Incorporated in their daily life and rituals, the idea of life and death are often expressed in their art forms. This magnificent mask grabs our attention in an instant. As we contemplate the artwork, we are invited to confront the inevitable idea of life and death, and we are reminded of an ancient culture and its images that flourished hundreds of years ago. - (PF.3529)


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