Guanacaste-Nicoya Blackware Trophy Head - PF.3542, Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica, Circa: 300 AD to 500 AD, Dimensions: 9" (22.9cm) high, Catalogue: V18, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Guanacaste-Nicoya, Medium: Terracotta. This pedestal effigy vessel dramatically depicts a human head. The sculptural rendition of the face is stunning, with meticulously incised patterns and marks accentuating the facial features. The facial expression generates a sense of power and aggression, like that of a warrior or a warrior- priest. The large bulging eyes are open wide and the protruding mouth reveals clenched teeth as if the person is intimidating someone. The nose is small but intricately sculpted to show details and the incised patterns representing facial scarification decorate the forehead, chin, and cheeks. The cheeks are enhanced with shapes that resemble sections of a stylized sun, further aiding in establishing the high status of the individual. Wearing an elaborate headdress and earspools, this sculpture most likely represent a person of high social status. Perhaps the vessel is a funerary sculpture representing the deceased. Or perhaps it was created to honor a warrior in a ritual. Because of the esoteric tribal culture of Ancient Costa Rican people, most of such details are unknown. We as modern viewers, however, can still appreciate the great artistic craftsmanship and dedicatory beliefs this vessel represents.
Ancient Central America & Mexico