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HOME : PRE COLUMBIAN ART : Pre-Columbian Art Collection/ HK : Galo Polychrome Kneeling Man Holding a Human Head
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Galo Polychrome Kneeling Man Holding a Human Head - PF.3527
Origin: Costa-Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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This kneeling figure comes from the Guanacaste-Nicoya polychrome tradition, the galo polychrome style. Its mirror-bright burnished surfaces are technically unsurpassed by any Pre-Columbian pottery, and yellows, reds, oranges, creams, maroons, and blacks of the polychrome decorations are impressively vivid. Among such sculptures are the full human figures with elaborate representations of tattoos or body paint. Such brilliant polychrome tradition represent an important social dimension; when the northern trade network that brought jade, slate-backed pyrite mirrors, foreign ceramics, and other luxury goods, the Nicoyans responded by producing their own special purpose pottery. Inspired by northern models, it also incorporated local and southern elements, forming a dazzling hybrid style that was traded around Central America and southern Meso-America in the centuries to come. Elaborately decorated with colors and patterns, this sculpted figure is kneeling, making a ritual offering. Like a dignified priest, the figure emanates a mysterious and strong charisma. With his large eyes, he looks strait ahead, holding a human head on a offering plate. In ancient Costa Rica, human sacrifice was practiced to please the powerful gods. A fine example of galo polychrome figures, the sculpture provides a wealth of ethnographic detail because of the realistic style. His flat headdress, decorated loincloth, earspools, and body painting or tattooing are all vividly shown. Moreover, the decorative painting on his cheeks and his nose accentuates the sculptural quality and drama of the bold face. With his face held up straight and the hands carefully supporting the precious offering, this regal figure demands our absolute attention. - (PF.3527)


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