The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of April 20, 2024

Mace Head

Mace Head

300–500 CE
Overall: 4.2 x 7.3 x 13.6 cm (1 5/8 x 2 7/8 x 5 3/8 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

In ancient Costa Rica, it was believed that the world rested on the back of a crocodile.


Once mounted on wooden shafts, elaborately shaped mace (club) heads like this one probably were not used as weapons. Rather, they could have served as emblems of chiefly authority, group insignia, the heads of ceremonial weapons, or all three. They eventually were placed in elite graves. The back-curled nose on this example may refer to a crocodile or caiman.
  • Joseph or Ronald Dammann, Los Angeles, CA, given to James C. and Florence C. Gruener
    James C. [1903-1990] and Florence C. [1908-1982] Gruener, Cleveland, OH, bequest to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Young-Sánchez, Margaret. "The Gruener Collection of Pre-Columbian Art." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 79, no. 7 (1992): 234-75. p. 274, no. 121
  • {{cite web|title=Mace Head|url=false|author=|year=300–500 CE|access-date=20 April 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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