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HOME : PRE COLUMBIAN ART : Pre-Columbian Art Collection/ HK : Galo Polychrome Sculpture of a Seated Man
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Galo Polychrome Sculpture of a Seated Man - PF.3217
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 12.5" (31.8cm) high x 8" (20.3cm) wide
Catalogue: V15
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Hong-Kong

Location: UAE
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Galo Polychrome figures provide a wealth of ethnographic detail because of their realistic style. Coiffures, clothing, and careful body painting or tattooing are all clearly shown. Patterns acceptable for female body decorations were different from those for males, for whom mythologically important animal traits predominate. This male is an exception to this assumption for his patterns are very similar to female patterns. Galo effigies are almost always female which make this male a very valuable and exceptional example. The mirror-bright burnished surface is technically unsurpassed by any Pre-Columbian pottery, and the angular geometric patterns of reddish-orange, black and cream are impressively vivid. The guilloche (an ornament formed by two or more intertwining bands or intersecting lines) and woven-mat patterns are indicative of high rank. They represent the finest ceramics of the great tradition of polychrome pottery in Guanacaste- Nicoya. From the beginning of time, the desire to find an outlet for the conceptual world in the tangible world has prompted humans to model their own form in clay. Rather than representing a particular man, this is an idealization, a concept that is materialized to perform a role. A role needed to represent and transmit ideas on man, the cosmos, and their interlinking forces. The harmonious whole of his form reaches the mind and soul of the viewer. There is no concern for anatomical proportions; rather he conveys a message. It's difficult to imagine what the elaborate ornaments on his body precisely mean. We can only suggest that they are complex cosmogonies and rituals that will forever remain impenetrable. He kneels before us philosophizing over man's place in the universe, a puzzling question, which seems to have hypnotized him across the centuries. - (PF.3217)


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