Atlantic Side - Costa Rica

900 - 1200 A.D.

Height : 76.2 cm - Width : 45 cm - Depth : 30 cm

Grey basaltic andesite with a brown patina.


Sculpture representing a standing warrior-shaman wearing a mask of baby alligator.

The stocky and powerful body is stabilized by large feet. The kneecaps are in relief. The sex is visible and only a string serves as loincloth. The bulky chest and the wide rounded shoulders give this figure an attitude both imposing and protective. The arms are along the body with the palms of the hands open and turned backwards. The face is partly covered with a mask depicting a baby alligator with a kindly look. The mouth is smiling. The muzzle is turned-up and the eyes have the shape of coffee-beans. The round ears are prominent and pierced. The back is well-modeled and presents a strong curve. The character is adorned with a three-tiered “wedding-cake” headdress and a necklace made up of a bar with five pendants that reminds the jadeite tubes found in that part of Costa Rica.

This warrior-shaman, with its alligator mask and its characteristic ornaments, is a beautiful example of the monumental sculptures that were found on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica during the periods V and VI, between 700 and 1200 A.D. Carved in the round, this work demonstrates the perfect mastery of lapidary art by the artists from that area. The frequent representation of this kind of masked warrior shows the importance attached to the military power at that time. The one we here display is particularly interesting with its aspect both magisterial and protective.