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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Art of Costa Rica : Galo Polychrome Hunchback Figure
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Galo Polychrome Hunchback Figure - PF.3376
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 7.5" (19.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: hk

Location: UAE
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Galo Polychrome figures provide a wealth of ethnographic detail because of their realistic style. Coiffures, clothing, and careful body painting or tattooing are all clearly shown. Galo effigies are almost always female which make this male a very valuable and exceptional example. The mirror-bright burnished surface is technically unsurpassed by any Pre-Columbian pottery, and the angular geometric patterns of reddish-orange, black and cream are impressively vivid. The guilloche (an ornament formed by two or more intertwining bands or intersecting lines) and woven-mat patterns are indicative of high rank. They represent the finest ceramics of the great tradition of polychrome pottery in Guanacaste- Nicoya. This expressive hunchback figure was obviously a special male individual. He wears his hair drawn back off his forehead and ear spools are prominent. His face is accentuated by reddish- orange paint around his wide penetrating eyes. His nostrils appear to be flared and his mouth frowns. His expression is extremely fierce and pragmatic. Hunchbacks were objects of fascination in most Pre-Columbian cultures. They may have held a certain societal role, perhaps a shaman or diviner. There are elaborate geometric designs on his protruding chest and back. His genitals thrust forward and may represent fertility and strength. With square shoulders and solid legs, this figure appears monumental compared to its actual size. His expressive posture becomes his own powerful throne. We are drawn again and again through this commanding composition, compelled to light our imaginations in the flames of the ancient, mysterious past. - (PF.3376)


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