DIQUIS - Costa Rica

800 - 1500 A.D.


  • Height : 46 cm
  • Width : 23.3 cm
  • Depth : 9.7 cm

Grey volcanic stone with a brown patina.


Sculpture representing a standing figure with the head of a jaguar.

The stylized body is massive, designed in two dimensions. It is drawn into a triangle of which the angles are formed by the shoulders and the rounded base that supports the feet. The relief arms are put on the bust. The ribs of the thorax are visible and marked by deep gashes. The navel is prominent. The legs are separated by a gap in the centre whereas the feet meet at the base. Fingers and toes are notified by cuts evoking the claws of the jaguar. The knee joints are marked by grooves. It wears a belt buckle and is adorned with bracelets on the wrists and the ankles. Its very expressive face takes up the features of the jaguar, the widely open mouth showing the fangs. The nose is flat and the nostrils are engraved with diagonal lines. The almond eyes are big and hemmed. The arches of the eyebrows, elaborated with dotted lines, underline them. Those ones meet the bridge of the nose, forming a “V”, and then merge on the sides with the ears that end in a spiral. A fine band decorates the whole breadth of the face, between the mouth and the nose. The flat and solid back only shows the shape of a “V” evoking the musculature and the shoulder blades.

The Diquis culture develops between 800 and 1500 A.D. in southern Costa Rica. Its artistic production is characterized by stone sculptures representing anthropo- or zoomorphic figures, or monumental spheres. This standing figure, of the limbs are never freed from the body, is a beautiful example of the perfect mastery by the artists from the Diquis culture. It represents a shaman in transformation, taking the power of the animal to travel through the different worlds. This sculpture is remarkable due to its size and its strong expression.