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Rare Costa Rican Stone Fertility Idol

lot 0538
Estimate $1,400 - $2,100
$6000 bids
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Lot 0538
**Originally Listed At $800**

Pre-Columbian, Costa Rica, Atlantic Watershed, Diquis or Linea Vieja style, ca. 700 to 1000 CE. Carved from a coarse grey basalt, a fertility figure depicting a pregnant monkey, the simian creature crouching with her hands / paws upon her projecting pregnant belly, her long tail with its curled end raised on the backside, her visage quite expressive with coffee bean eyes, a protruding snout, and a toothy grimace. Simian creatures were favorites of Pre-Columbian artisans; monkeys were beloved for their antics which were understood as parodying human behavior. Size: 4.75" W x 8.875" H (12.1 cm x 22.5 cm)

Interestingly, the near spherical form of this monkey's middle conjures images of the famous petrospheres known as Las Bolas attributed to the extinct Diquis culture. As the best-known stone sculptures of the Isthmo-Colombian area, Diquis spheres range in size from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter. Most are sculpted from gabbro, a coarse-grained type of basalt. First "discovered" in the 1930s when the United Fruit Company was clearing the jungle to establish banana plantations, many were damaged in the process. What's more, legends of hidden gold motivated workers to drill holes in the spheres and blow them up with sticks of dynamite. By the 1940s, a legitimate investigation was conducted by Samuel Kirkland Lothrop of the Peabody Museum of Harvard University. As recently as 2010, University of Kansas researcher John Hoopes visited the site with the intention of evaluating the area's eligibility for protection as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Countless legends surround Las Bolas including the myth that they come from Atlantis or that the indigenous possessed a poison that was able to soften the rock. According to the cosmogony of the Bribri, these stone spheres are in fact Tara's cannon balls. Tara or Tlatchque, god of thunder, according to the native's legend, used a giant blowpipe to shoot the balls at the Serkes, gods of winds and hurricanes, to force them out of these regions. Marvels of near perfect roundness, the Bolas are rich in aesthetic appeal as well as wonder!

Provenance: Whisnant Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana, acquired over twenty years ago

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Normal surface wear with earthen encrustation. Losses to lower back side as shown. Details are still nice and vivid.

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Artemis Gallerybadge TOP RATED
Louisville, CO, USA
Artemis Gallerybadge TOP RATED
Louisville, CO, USA