2017-122: Ancient Costa Rican Rock Sphere Mandala

An ancient stone sphere in in San José, Costa Rica (Photo by Emily Jo Cureton)
An ancient stone sphere of Costa Rica
Photo by Emily Jo Cureton

This Week’s Theme: Rocks.

Unlike yesterday’s “bowling ball” rocks formed by nature, this spherical rock, and many others like it found in Costa Rica, were sculpted by humans and can be anywhere from 500-2000 or more years old!

This particular sphere, photographed by artist and writer Emily Jo Cureton, sits in the Plaza Democracia in San José, Costa Rica. With all the fascinating images of these spheres, I had to choose this one which included this fantastic mandala-like window.

About the rock spheres from Academiatica.com:

The solid rock from which the spheres were sculpted came from the Talamanca Mountains and was probably naturally flooded to the lowlands down the Térraba River to the Diquís valley, where boulders would have been collected and transported upwards of 50 miles to some installation sites.

About the rock spheres from World-Mysteries.com

Almost all of the balls are made of granodiorite, a hard, igneous stone that outcrops in the foothills of the nearby Talamanca range. There are a few examples made of coquina, a hard material similar to limestone that is formed from shell and sand in beach deposits.

…The balls were most likely made by reducing round boulders to a spherical shape through a combination of controlled fracture, pecking, and grinding. The granodiorite from which they are made has been shown to exfoliate in layers when subjected to rapid changes in temperature. The balls could have been roughed out through the application of heat (hot coals) and cold (chilled water). When they were close to spherical in shape, they were further reduced by pecking and hammering with stones made of the same hard material. Finally, they were ground and polished to a high luster. This process, which was similar to that used for making polished stone axes, elaborate carved metates, and stone statues, was accomplished without the help of metal tools, laser beams, or alien life forms.


“Creativity is a spark. It can be excruciating when we’re rubbing two rocks together and getting nothing. And it can be intensely satisfying when the flame catches and a new idea sweeps around the world.” ~ Jonah Lehrer

Happy Coloring!

joyfully, Maureen

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