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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Pre-Columbian Erotic Art : Basalt Sculpture of a Copulating Couple
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Basalt Sculpture of a Copulating Couple - PF.3506
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD to 1500 AD
Dimensions: 27" (68.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This Costa Rican basalt sculpture is of a couple engaging in a sexual activity. Sculpted in a stylized, minimal manner, the sculpture generates undeniably bold, strong presence. The male wearing a flat headdress stands behind the female, with his hands firmly holding her shoulders. Her hair is neatly combed back and her knees are slightly bent to achieve a sense of balance. Such bold sculpture is a symbolic representation of concepts of fertility, power, and balance in which Ancient Costa Ricans believed. Wearing little clothing was a symbol of high class for Ancient Costa Ricans because only people who worked in the fields had to wear clothing to protect their sensitive areas such as the genital area. The subject of erotic acts indicates a tribal reliance on fertility and fear of destructive power, which often has marked sexual aspects. Costa Ricans also considered sex as the unpredictable force, which often leads to tension and destruction. Thus, sex was naturally analogized with beings of aggressive power, such as human males who were often warriors. The basalt sculpture, then, embodies more symbolism than sex itself. Copulation leading to conception of a human soul, fertility and prosperity, and recognition of power and unavoidable destruction of the natural world are all expressed in the sculpture. Looking at this work of art, we realize that there are many different symbolisms of different cultures that need to be learned. - (PF.3506)


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