San Jose, Costa Rica, has a new national Museum of Jade and Pre-Columbian Art. Open to the public as of May 26, 2014, the new Jade Museum is located in the Plaza de la Democracia (Democracy Plaza) opposite the Costa Rica National Museum.
Previously, Costa Rica’s impressive collection of ancient jade was housed since 1977 in a small wing of the National Insurance Institute (INS) building, which prevented the museum from displaying its full collection. The new museum spans 75,000 square feet over five floors, allowing the National Insurance Institute, which manages the museum, to exhibit the entire collection of nearly 7,000 pieces of indigenous jade, ceramics and stone artifacts. Purportedly the largest collection of Pre-Columbian jade in the world, the pieces date to between 500 B.C. and 1500 A.D.
Jade pendants and other ornaments made in Costa Rica are among the country’s most unique historic art forms. Fashioning items out of Jadeite, which was most prevalent in Costa Rica, remained in favor for hundreds of years until approximately 700 A.D., when its popularity appears to have been replaced by gold ornaments. Costa Rica jade comes in many green tonalities, from pale blue-green to intense, almost black greens.
Fascinating museum exhibits illustrate the history of jade and give insight into the culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica and Central America.
The new Jade Museum building is exceptionally modern and eye-catching. The architect designed the commanding building to capture the shape and texture of a piece of jade. It’s hard to miss this new, five-story landmark, conveniently located in the center of downtown San Jose’s cultural attractions. The National Theatre, one of the capital city’s most popular tourist attractions, is just a few blocks away.
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