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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Terracotta Trophy Heads : Blackware Trophy Head
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Blackware Trophy Head - PF.4387
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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To the Costa Ricans, human head effigy vessels represented a prisoner of war or a sacrificial victim. These vessels are known as trophy heads. The artist's craftsmanship captures the realistic nature of this piece. The artist took considerable time to depict the exact likeness of this victim. The face is very distinguished and rendered. The eyes are almond shaped and there are indentations around the eye giving it the appearance that they are bulging. The most extraordinary characteristic of this object d'art is its lack of tribal markings and patterns. Therefore, one assumes that this person was a foreigner. The vessel is decorated on a solid black slip with features that are highly pronounced. The nose is aquiline and the nostrils are flaring out. The mouth is partially opened and the lips are in a pouting expression as if this person is gasping for air. The effect depicts surprise on his face. The forehead is carved with raised lines that frame the face and serve as his hair. His headdress is very unique in its design. It is perched upon his head in an upward style. This haunting work of art is a reminder of the days long past. However, its energy and symbolism still pervades our world today. - (PF.4387)


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