Jade in Ancient Costa Rica

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-06-25
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Jade in Ancient Costa Rica is an exhibition that illustrates a particular moment in Precolumbian America when a group of works of art takes on a special and traditional singularity. The jades presented here, made over the course of about a thousand years in an area that today is chiefly northern and central Costa Rica, are precious, intimate objects, lustrous in surface, intricate in image, and totally personal in intent. Works of closely related shape and, without doubt, closely related significance, they bear witness to the enduring power of traditional custom among one of those ancient societies that are far removed from our own. Relative degrees of uniformity and individuality characterize these small, ambitious sculptures, and the relativities both reassure us of our own ability to see distinctions and puzzle at our inability to understand them. In order to gain insight into this illusive meaning, essays are presented here that deal with the aspects of ancient Costa Rica jade that can be examined today—the all-important archaeological context, the formal relationships with other jade—using areas of Precolumbian America, a review of the images themselves, and a look at their possible meaning. [This book was originally published in 1998 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]

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