- Managua, Nicaragua |
The accuracy with which 15 statues were carved from the pre-Hispanic era in Nicaragua surprised a group of experts who worked on its replicas, said the sculptor and director of the School of Fine Arts in Granada, Pedro Vargas today.
The sculptures, discovered in 1849 by the US diplomat Ephraim George Squier in Zapatera Island, east of the Great Lake of Nicaragua or Cocibolca, are dated between 800 or 1,200 AD, according to scholars of the Nicaraguan archeology.
They are now in the San Francisco Convent, the colonial city of Granada, and are characterized by columns of black basalt with human figures with animal adhered, from 1.25 to 2.25 meters high and 60 centimeters wide, on average .
“Everyone who was closely linked to the creation of the replicas could appreciate the beauty of the work as sculpture, the exact position of the nose, the corner of his mouth, because the standard of meaurements they used were the same as we use today “Said Efe Vargas, who was in charge of the project of reproduction of the statues.
Before realizing this project, the pre-Columbian sculptures had only been studied by archaeologists, but in the last 12 months, they were analyzed for the first time by sculptors and architects, for purposes of making the replica statues.
“You can see the delicacy and the precision by which they did the work. We wonder who taught them how they got that knowledge and where, because they were not works made by rookies hands, they were done by people who had studied,” noted the expert.
According to historians, the sculptures were made by chorotegas, who conceived the island as a sanctuary, and had artistic Mesoamerican and South American influences.
The replicas were made in concrete (reinforced concrete), with the original measures and tears that have occured over time, as part of the tourism project Ruta Colonial and Volcano, sponsored by the European Union in Nicaragua and the Luxembourg Agency for Development Cooperation (LuxDev).
The new sculptures, weighing between 182 and 364 kilograms, were brought to the island in small boats this week to launch theZapatera Archipelago National Park as a new tourist destination in Nicaragua.
Once on the island, they must be uploaded on hilly slopes with pulleys and ancient methods, with the help of many men, to where the originals were.
“It seemed like watching an Egyptian film, see how the statues were moved,” he told Efe the regional representative of the LuxDev, Marc Riehl.
The replicas, which are waiting for a treatment that will give them the same appearance as the originals, are now part of a attractive new Nicaraguan tourist destination.
This is a really interesting story for those who would like to learn more about Nicaraguan native history. Zapatera Island, which is located in Lake Nicaragua south of Granada, has been known for hundreds of years as a place rich in petroglyphs and other instances of precolumbian art and culture.
Several years ago, some rather large sculptures were taken off the island to be safely stored in a convent in Granada. Now, as part of putting the island on the tourist route, they have made exacting replicas of the sculptures and are setting them up on the hillside of the island in the exact same place that the originals once stood.
So now, visitors can see these sculptures in their original locations and natural context that their makers intended. The originals were made a long time ago, around 1,000 AD and by all accounts, are quite intricate and beautiful to look at.
For me, this is another example of how rich Nicaraguan culture and history is. Come and enjoy!