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Costa Rica: You must visit the Jade Museum in San José!

Pictures courtesy of Costa Rica Travel Bureau

The Jade Museum is an amazing place to go and see the ancient history of Costa Rica. This museum is in the middle of San José city. So you can do a day tour by yourself or with a tour operator and finish the day in this amazing museum. The museum has different showrooms:

  1. The Jade Room: The jade elaborated in Costa Rica was carved in the central area, specifically on the plains of the Central Caribbean, but also in the Guanacaste-Nicoya sub-region. Probably by the beginnings of 500 b.C. and ending towards 500-800 a.D. Local jades were carved as pendants, many of which are hatchet-formed in the bottom part, while the upper part represents human figures, adorned as birds, mammals and reptiles

  2. The Day Room: Once pre-Columbian communities achieved the domestication of plants, they abandoned their nomadic habits to become established in towns and villages. This intensified cultivation of roots such as cassava and grains, mainly maize and beans. Coupled to this emerged specialized artisans, known as ceramists or potters, who created vessels serving as containers for agricultural products.

  3. The Night Room: This topic is based on sacrifice, war and the characters linked to aspects of power and strength, as warriors, village headmen in war and the victims of these. Emphasis is on aspects of religious or social prestige through jade, pottery and sculptures, showing heads and beheaded bodies, trophy heads and birds carrying heads as war trophies or to the afterlife, bound slaves in the plane of winners and loser.

  4. The Memory Room: Music, singing and dance were common activities during the performance of the ceremonies and festivities within the pre-Columbian groups. The archaeological collection shows this musical communication by means of different sound instruments conserved such as ocarinas, maracas, whistles, flutes and rattles.

  5. The Collection Room: This space safeguards objects in different materials found in three archaeological regions of the country: Greater Nicoya, Central Region, and Greater Chiriquí. The objects shown here will serve as framework for future investigations, temporary and itinerant exhibitions; hence it’s considered a collection in movement.

This museum pursues the following objectives:

  • Foster scientific study in the archaeologic field.

  • Preserve part of the archaeological and artistic heritage of the country.

  • Stimulate the artistic development of the Fine Arts.

  • Serve as a body for cultural outreach to the community from the Institute.

The investigations that they have ventured goes from fields such as the anthropological, archeological, geologic, artistic, and ethno-musical. The Jade Museum has already almost thirty eight years of operation and has allowed thousands of visitors, national and foreign visiting the exhibition rooms, enjoying the opportunity to admire one of the richest institutional collections of America. The variety of its legacy, constituted by five collections in archaeology, art and ethnography, reflects one of the objectives of this museum, that of generating a social contribution through the record, documentation and display of exhibitions. The cultural heritage under the custody of the museum has served as Costa Rican ambassador, forming part of international exhibitions in different cities of America, Europe and Asia for over a quarter of a century.

In this link you can check all the details of this amazing museum:

Hope you enjoy your visit in Costa Rica!

*Amanda Urcuyo is a travel designer for Costa Rica and you can contact her for information on tours, hotels, rent a car or shuttles:

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