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HOME : PRE COLUMBIAN ART : Pre-Columbian Art Collection/ HK : Stone Sculpture of a Skull
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Stone Sculpture of a Skull - PF.4266
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 300 BC to 500 AD
Dimensions: 4.5" (11.4cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide x 7.25" (18.4cm) depth
Catalogue: V24
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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The skull is the Universal image of death and the afterlife. Yet, in Meso-American culture it was not intended as a macabre symbol, but as concomitant with life, existing side by side, the one essential to and nurturing the other. Since the afterlife is 'peopled' with spirits and deities, they must be honored and given offerings so as to ensure their favorable help in the material world. Cults dedicated to spirit appeasement ranged far and wide, and used skulls such as this beautiful example as part of ritual paraphernalia. Firstly, this skull is a work of art, skillfully rendered, being both very realistic and abstract, while exuding a powerful presence. A hollowed portion on top of its head was probably intended to hold ritual incense or liquid burned during ceremonies. The expression on this skull is more lifelike than skeletal, with a fantastic expression in the eyes that is forceful and defiant. Expert carving and magical intent has come together in lovely pink-white stone to make this skull a universal image of life. - (PF.4266)


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