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Central Pacific Jade Figure-Celt Pendant - PF.2401
Origin: Western Costa Rica
Circa: 200 AD to 600 AD
Dimensions: 5.25" (13.3cm) high
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Central Pacific
Medium: Jade

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Objects shaped in the form of an axe are an integral component of virtually every culture. However, Costa Rican jade axes in the form of figure-celt pendants, such as this stunning example, are distinctive for many reasons. Jade is a very rare and unique gemstone. Found in only half a dozen parts of the world, it is an extremely hard stone and, because of its structure, the toughest and most durable of stones. It cannot be worked by flaking and chipping procedures that are effective on flint and other quartz minerals, so its superiority could only become evident at the Neolithic level of technology, when stone could be worked by abrasion. While the early Costa Rican artists' exquisite craftsmanship in jade is tied to that of the ancient Olmec, both in technology and style, the Costa Rican artists eventually developed their own distinct characteristics as evidenced in this spirited jade figure-celt pendant. With the body of a human, depicted form the waist up, this figure-celt stares out at us with a mask-like expression in his skillfully carved face. A headdress with incised patterns adorns his head, while other incised lines form fierce-looking teeth in his gaping mouth. A ritual pose, perhaps that of a shaman, is further evidenced by the carving of bent arms and hands, with fingers splayed in a downward position. To experience this powerful work of Ancient Costa Rican art is to engage ourselves in a magical journey through time and space, for we too are participating in the ancient emotional responses that this spirited figure-celt pendant evokes. - (PF.2401)

 

 

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