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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Roller Stamp with Spiral Motif
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Roller Stamp with Spiral Motif - PF.2976
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 700 AD
Dimensions: 1.75" (4.4cm) high x .875" (2.2cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Like the labyrinthine passage through a cave, the spiral and meander symbolize the sacred way of approach to a dimension invisible to human senses. They are found on this rare stamp from the New World 2,000 years ago and are found incised on the Paleolithic Goddess figurines from the Old World 20,000 years ago. The spiral form is found in the swirling of water, sea shells, the intestines, the spider's web and the whirling galaxies of space. All these enduring constellations of images symbolize the intricate pathway that connects the visible world to the invisible, perhaps the imagined pathway that the souls of the deceased would have taken to re-enter the womb of the mother. It is assumed that this roller stamp along with other stamps in Costa Rica was used in body painting and textile decoration. These spiral and meander images point to cultures with highly developed mythologies that wove together all these elements of spiral forms in stories long since lost to us. This spiral stamp may look simple at first glance, but in actuality it perpetuates the miraculous survival of these images throughout 20,000 years. At a second glance, it looks as though our ancestors may have something very important to teach us. - (PF.2976)


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