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
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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.