Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Warrior with Trophy Head

300–800 A.D.
Costa Rica
H. 34 3/4 x W. 11 1/2 x D. 9 5/16 in. (88.3 x 29.2 x 23.6 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 357
A tradition of figure sculpture that glorified militarism and warriors is thought to have developed in Costa Rica out of an increased competition for resources among a growing population. Presented in a rigid posture atop a pedestal base, this helmeted warrior holds a trophy head in his right hand and a short ax in his left. Around his neck is suspended a large pendant that is similar in detail to known objects in gold. There is evidence that gold was considered a protective substance in Precolumbian Central America and that warriors wore their gold ornaments into battle.
[Stendahl Gallery, New York, until 1955]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1955, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1956–1978

Lines, Jorge A. "Un usekara Huetar en morfologia Brunka." In IInternational Congress of Americanists (I.C.A.), 33rd. Vol. vol. 2. Hudson, NY: Periodicals Service Company, 1959.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 541.

The American Federation of Arts. Primitive Art Masterworks: an exhibition jointly organized by the Museum of Primitive Art and the American Federation of Arts, New York. New York: The American Federation of Arts, 1974, no. 24.

Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.

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