Warrior with Trophy Head

Date: A.D. 300–800

Geography: Costa Rica

Culture: Chiriquí, Aguas Buenas Phase

Medium: Stone

Dimensions: H. 34 3/4 x W. 11 1/2 x D. 9 5/16 in. (88.3 x 29.2 x 23.6 cm)

Classification: Stone-Sculpture

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.206.422


A tradition of figure sculpture that glorified militarism and warriors developed in Costa Rica perhaps 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.