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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Stone Trophy Heads : Basalt Trophy Head
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Basalt Trophy Head - PF.3075
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 14.5" (36.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This large, monumental stone head with a stoic face carries a strong ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence, its aura of monumental scale. Estranged from the body, the stone head's large, stoic eyes and mouth create an esoteric mystery. The skillful artist of this stone head not only successfully handled the large size of the head but he also paid attention to beautiful details that make the sculpture complete. The artist encircled the head with patterned headband and gave the sculpture stylized coiling pattern ears. Also, the asymmetrical hair beautifully offsets otherwise perfect symmetry of the well-polished sculpture. Because Costa Rica was a tribal culture, significance of its art is largely unknown. The mystery of this large stone head, then, is up to the viewers to decipher. Perhaps such beautiful sculpture had a funerary ritual significance, meant to represent or portray the deceased. Or perhaps such stone head is a symbol of human sacrificial ritual, which was a common practice in the Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took trophy heads in battles for human sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the agricultural fertility. Mesoamericans believed in their humble position and their duty to offer the best for god's mercy. If this was the case, this marvelous stone head must represent a head of a man of great importance and power. - (PF.3075)


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