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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Skull Masks and Sculptures : Stone Funerary Skull Mask
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Stone Funerary Skull Mask - PF.3453
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 15" (38.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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The mask, as a basic artistic and religious concept, helps us to visualize the invisible. In ancient cultures the mask had many functions- as entertainment, as symbols of life and death, and the personification of spirits. Masks rarely depict humans realistically, though they often have human features. They are an artistic creation that, when imbued with sufficient energy, can act as a sort of bridge between the wearer and the supernatural world. This superb funerary mask shows the most elemental and widely understood symbol of death- the skull. Yet, it is much more than a representation of the cessation of life. Placed in a tomb of a wealthy or noble person, this mask may have been seen more as a beginning than an end, the start of a great journey into an afterlife as rich and varied as the physical existence. The sheer volume and massive strength of this mask attests to the sculptor's great skill, which knew how to refine details with elegance, grace and simplicity, without losing any of its power and presence. Viewing such an object is like being part of an Ancient culture that understood many mysteries of life, and allows us a glimpse through our own imagination into their world. - (PF.3453)


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