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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Globalization in Ancient Costa Rican Arts

Press Release

Hood Museum of Art Explores Ancient Costa Rican Arts

Hanover, NH--The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, presents Globalization in Ancient Costa Rican Arts, on view from February 24 through October 1. Although the ancient Costa Ricans did not leave architectural monuments behind, their rich artistic legacy in ceramic and stone is equally mighty. This exhibition presents a selection of vessels and figures that helps us trace relationships between the peoples of Costa Rica and their neighbors north and south. In ancient Costa Rican cultures, these objects were used to teach about mythology, religion, and the environment. Today, they help archaeologists reconstruct ancient paths of trade and distribution, revealing that thousands of years ago Costa Rica was, in effect, already regionally "globalized."

This exhibition is guest curated by archaeologist Frederick W. Lange, Senior Cultural Resource Manager, LSA Associates, Inc. Dr. Lange will present a free public lecture on April 8 in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium, at the Hood Museum of Art at 4:30 p.m.

The early peoples of Costa Rica inhabited this small area of Central America for at least 12,000 years, if not much longer. Although they may have been too preoccupied by daily life to travel significant distances, the arts of Costa Rica suggest that from 1000 BCE to 500 CE cross-cultural contact did play an important part in their development. By the time of the Spanish invasion in the sixteenth century, distinct local cultures with their own centers of artist production and networks of trade were flourishing.

Although Globalization in Ancient Costa Rican Arts focuses primarily on the ceramic and stone arts from this country, comparative examples from other regions reveal symbolism and technologies shared with cultures as far north as Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua and as far south as Panama and Colombia. In their great diversity, these objects demonstrate the amazing capacity of ancient Costa Rican cultures for exchange and communication across long distances.

When viewed from an archaeological perspective, the objects in this exhibition allow us to glimpse artistic and cultural characteristics that the ancient Costa Ricans shared with their Central, South, and North American neighbors with regard to production techniques, style, and subject matter. And yet, independent developments in ancient Costa Rican arts survive as well to distinguish them from their neighbors both creatively and pedagogically.

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and is generously funded by the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund.

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is an accredited member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and is recognized by AAM as a national model. The Hood is located in the heart of downtown Hanover, N.H., in an award-winning building designed by Charles Moore. The museum's outstanding and diverse collections include American portraits, paintings, watercolors and drawings, silver and decorative arts, European Old Master prints and drawings, paintings and sculpture, Ancient, Asian, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections from almost every period in history to the present. The Hood regularly features its collections and organizes major traveling exhibitions as well as featuring major exhibitions from around the country. The museum provides a rich diversity of year-round public programs.

Admission is free of charge. Operating Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. Hood Museum of Art Gift Shop offers items inspired by the collections and exhibitions. The Hood is wheelchair accessible and offers assistive listening devices. For further accessibility requests, please contact the museum.