Guanacaste-Nicoya Jade Mace Head in the Form of a Monkey Head

SKU PF.2459

1 AD to 500 AD


2.5″ (6.4cm) high




Western Costa Rica

Gallery Location



The exquisite beauty and incredible strength if jade resulted in the belief by the Ancient Costa Ricans that this remarkable stone had qualities of both power and magic. Crafted by expert artists, this extraordinary medium was used for the creation of spirited works of art–objects that gave substance to Costa Rican myth and its symbolic language. This dramatic mace head, carved in the stylized image of a monkey, is an outstanding example of that ancient artistry. Functioning as a ceremonial badge of office or of a clan affiliation, this powerful mace head would have been mounted in a wooden staff and carried by its owner. The dramatic image of the monkey symbolizes the owner’s comparable qualities: courage and tenacity. To the Ancient Costa Ricans, the spider monkey was a revered animal, for it was believed that the monkey was actually a former warrior. This compelling mace head, with its imagery that is at once powerfully primitive and strikingly modern, continues to radiate its extraordinary energy – from past to present, it affects us in a most compelling manner.

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