Skillfully carved from a solid block of volcanic stone, this figure of a warrior is a brilliant example of the sculptural abilities of the pre-Columbian artisans living in the Atlantic area of Costa Rica_1000-1200 AD
H.: 113 cm
Provenance: Rabier-Quintero collection (since 1980)
References: Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Texas), British Museum (London), Pre-Columbian Gold Museum (San Josè, Costa Rica), Museo Nacional de Antropologia (Mexico Vity), Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (San Josè, Costa Rica)
Modelled upright, the warrior proudly displays his war attributes. In his right hand he has a head trophy. In his left hand he holds a double edged blade axe, which was the preferred battle weapon. Some thin engraving points out the muscles on his chest, underlining the warrior’s superior strength. The greatest and most beautiful sculptures of Costa Rica are the statues of warriors. These monumental works which celebrated great military valor, adorned squares, ceremonial sites, and residences of prominent people. They are integral to a society which after 700 A.D. considered military power of extreme importance, and which celebrated the individual by iconic representations of powerful and invincible warriors. These were also symbols reflecting their leaders’ personalities.
LITERATURE: Hoopes J.W., Sorcery and the Taking of Trophy Heads in Ancient Costa Rica; Jorge A. Lines, Ancient Art from Costa Rica (exh. cat. Claremont, Calif.: Scripps College, 1953); Lois Katz, Pre-Columbian Painted and Sculpted Ceramics from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D.C., 1985; VVAA, Masters of the Americas: in praise of the pre-Columbian artists: the Dora and Paul Janssen collection, Mercatorfonds, 2005