Basalt Trophy Head - PF.2967
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 7" (17.8cm) high x 5.25" (13.3cm) wide x 7" (17.8cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt


This basalt stone head with a stoic face carries an unusual ambience and weight. Although the head is depicted with simple incision lines, one cannot escape its poignant sense of presence, like that of a real human head. Estranged from the body, the stone head's stoic closed eyes and mouth create an esoteric mystery. The head is decorated with a flat cap that is ornately enhanced and with indication of earspools. Such ornate basalt head is a symbol of human sacrificial ritual, which was a common practice in Ancient Costa Rica. During this period, people took the trophy heads in battles for human sacrifice because they believed that such practice was necessary to maintain the agricultural fertility. Because of the strong belief in human sacrifice and pleasing the God, conquests and wars became their fight to obtain the perfect victims for the sacrifice. This explains the ornate embellishment of the basalt head--the victims of the human sacrificial ceremony had to be flawless. After all, these humans were offerings to the powerful God. Meso-Americans believed in their humble position and their duty to offer the best for god's mercy. The agricultural prosperity depended upon human sacrifice and this basalt trophy head well indicates the people's desire for God's benevolence. - (PF.2967)



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