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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Masks : Guanacaste Greenstone Mask with a Bird Headdress
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Guanacaste Greenstone Mask with a Bird Headdress - PF.3357
Origin: Guanacaste Zone, Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD
Dimensions: 4.25" (10.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Greenstone

Location: United States
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This mask touches and exhilarates centers of life beyond our present reality. It serves as a means of transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary, the natural to the supernatural. The mask has always been used as a ritual agent of transformation in Meso-America. The ritual wearer of this mask, the shaman, not only represented the god; he was the god. He manifested the life-force. Through that ritual transformation joining the worlds of spirit and nature, man and god fused in the zone of mysterious transition marked by the mask itself This mask is the seat of the soul, where the outer and inner worlds meet. We are left to ponder over the mysteries of the universe hidden behind this mask, and the awakened insights it has brought to our own inner spirits. In this very asymmetrical and stylized work of art, the artist has created a miniature masterpiece. Notice the high cheekbone definitions and the subtle swelling underneath the eyes. Every detail of this sculpture has been carved and polished with a tremendous amount of sensitivity and integrity by the artist. Given the opportunity to express his divine will of ingenuity, the artist has imbued this mask with a soul and energy that brings it to life! Two birds with large beaks face different directions on headdress. Their eyes peer at us. These birds are most probably high-soaring species, and it is possible that they were viewed as emissaries, the all-seeing "eyes and ears" of the shaman who wore this mask. We are drawn again and again through this beautiful and harmonious composition, compelled to dwell further into the mysterious realms of our own inner psyches. - (PF.3357)


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