Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Warrior with Trophy Head

A.D. 300–800
Costa Rica
Chiriquí, Aguas Buenas Phase
Volcanic stone
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:
Not on view
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.
#1613. Warrior with Trophy Head
: / 
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
[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. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p. 148 (right).

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

Related Objects

Bird Pendant

Date: 1st–5th century Medium: Jadeite Accession: 1979.206.1138 On view in:Gallery 357


Date: 800–1550 Medium: Andesite Accession: 2012.530.3 On view in:Gallery 357

Frog Pendant

Date: 11th–16th century Medium: Gold Accession: 1991.419.1 On view in:Gallery 357

Ceremonial Metate

Date: 10th–11th century Medium: Stone Accession: 1978.412.94 On view in:Gallery 357

Ceremonial Metate

Date: 4th–8th century Medium: Stone Accession: 1979.206.429 On view in:Gallery 357