Showcased by Galerie Mermoz

Torso of a Ritually Broken Statue

DIQUIS – Costa Rica 1000 – 1500 AD.
H :59 cm – L :39 cm – D : 20 cm

Former collection Robert Duperrier, 1965

Former collection Olivier Le Corneur, 1972

Galerie Bernard Dulon,1990

Collection Durand-Dessert since 1990

Collection Galerie mermoz since 2022

Publications / Exhibitions:

Kaos, n°2, 2003, p.62

L’Art au futur antérieur, Liliane et Michel Durand-Dessert, un autre regard, Musée de Grenoble, 2004, n°76

Art précolombien, collection Liliane et Michel Durand-Dessert, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne, 2021-2022, fig.35

This ethereal work, which looks like the Venus of the Cyclades but is much more imposing, comes from the Diquis region in southwest Costa Rica. This area has been the home of prolific lapidary traditions, unique in theme and style. These are best known for their columnar sculptures, fairly flat in profile, perched on tenons, with human and/or zoomorphic features, carved from rough stones containing all the telluric power of this volcanic territory located on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The meaning of these ‘peg-based statues’, as they are called, is unknown. One hypothesis is that they refer to great clan leaders, shamans or deities. In any case, it seems certain, given their massive, rigid and frontal design, that they had a public purpose and were designed to be placed, in full view, in ideologically and politically central places.

Several categories can be distinguished within this masterly repertoire of Diquis statues. This work belongs to a rather special group of figures that are clearly human, with realistic proportions, but with extremely minute facial details, and which are therefore called “ghosts”. Although some argue that these are unfinished sculptures, when examined as a group, the opposite is apparent.

About ten of these statues have been found around temples or tombs together with huge spheres.

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