Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Avian Mace Head - PF.3014
Origin: Western Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Guanacaste-Nicoya
Medium: Jade


This finely polished and carved jade mace head depicts a surreal form of a bird. The bird's large beak is carved in a lovely manner and incision lines indicate details of wings, feet, and the head. The roundness of the bird's body is emphasized and hollowed out to be attached to the top of a pole. Such beautifully carved jade mace head identified a tribe in Ancient Costa Rica, and it was also used in ritualistic ceremonies. As a sign and emblem of a tribe, mace heads were also placed in richly stocked cemeteries along with other precious pendants and effigy stones. Although the tribal identification of the Ancient Costa Rican region is unknown, it is fascinating to imagine what group of people this surreal jade bird, perhaps a condor, represented. Birds, especially eagles and condors, had a magical and religious connotation, often representing gods in Meso-America. This jade mace head, then, perhaps symbolized a powerful and proud tribe. As we look and hold this jade mace head, we can visualize the history the jade bird had witnessed in the ancient world. - (PF.3014)



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