Because of its exquisite beauty and extraordinary
strength, jade assumed both mystical and
powerful qualities in Ancient Costa Rican culture.
Crafted by expert artists, this medium was used
for the creation of dynamic works of art--
objects that gave substance to myth and its
ancient symbolic language. Here we see a
dramatic mace head, carved in the stylized
image of a jaguar. Functioning as a ceremonial
badge of office or of a clan affiliation, this
powerful mace head would have been mounted
on a wooden pole and carried by its owner, the
dramatic image of the highly revered jaguar
symbolizing the owner's similar qualities--those
of power, strength and virility. To the Ancient
Costa Ricans the jaguar was the hunter, warrior,
clansman, symbol of power; equivalent to eagles
in the sky and crocodiles in the water.
Fortunately, those ancient characteristics that
infused this brilliant work of art with its vibrant
energy and symbolic power so long ago are still
in evidence today, commanding our deep
respect and admiration.