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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Costa Rican Masks : Stone Death Mask
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Stone Death Mask - PF.3427
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 300 BC to 1500 AD
Dimensions: 13" (33.0cm) high x 7.5" (19.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Stone

Location: United States
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The artist of this Pre-Colombian stone death mask portrays a magnificent use of this mask; to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary, and to eternalize the man behind this mask. This artist captures the life-force by bringing this man closer to god through the mask itself. The artist has created the mask for two purposes. The first is to shield the life that has just passed, the second is to bring new life to the man through the beautifully carved open eye and mouth slits. Exuberance and energy emanate from the mask through the sensitive depiction of line and form. The strong outline of facial features and geometric patterns over the ears show the artistic power to idealize the face behind the mask. The jaguar at the crown of the mask, symbolizes this man's power and shows the transformation of the prominent man behind the mask into an eternal spirit, capable of thinking like the powerful jaguar. The jaguar on this mask represents two ideals about this man and his culture. The jaguar could represent his prominence in his own community as a chieftain or leader, on the other hand it may be a symbol for the entire tribe and their worship of a powerful animal. In either case, the mask transforms the man who has died into a powerful leader, ready to merge thoughts with the gods. The precision of the carved forms leave us breathless over the Ancient depiction and transformation of a man towards his after life. - (PF.3427)


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