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The process of social and cultural development and the consolidation of the canton of Osa and its surroundings is very rich and complex. Its progress responds to historical dynamics dating back to a pre-Columbian past and the flourishing of complex chiefdom settlements, to the creation of colonial settlements and the growth of present communities.

The southern region’s settlers, as from other areas of the country, reflect some of the characteristics of the historical process, interpreting and reinterpreting the cultural myths and traditions depicted as arts and crafts.   



Many of the works of painters, sculptors and engravers are inspired in the landscape’s natural richness and exuberance, the pre-Columbian history and legacy, indigenous traditions and symbolisms. Some recurring themes are the stone sphere as a symbol of regional identity, the indigenous legacy, the legends, the banana countryside and the rural settings.

Watercolors, pastel, oils and acrylics are some of the most used techniques. Sculptors, on the other hand usually use wood, basalt, marble and granite.



In Osa, and in the South Pacific region in general, there are groups dedicated to the performing arts; mainly to popular and indigenous dance, music and theater.

The most important dance groups are integrated by indigenous members of the communities of Boruca and Rey Curré, college students and elderly adults of the area. Other artistic groups from the country’s Central Valley have also inspired in the southern region’s characteristics to make their proposals.

All are identified by their interest in reinterpreting the socio-cultural foundations, to rescue and disseminate the cultural traditions and heritage of the region, through body language and movement.

Music and literary expressions also praise that heritage, with emphasis on the natural riches, pre-Columbian stone spheres, and indigenous legacy.



Handicrafts also portray the world, the logic, the idiosyncrasy and the social and cultural expressions of the settlers of Osa and its surroundings. Crafts’ production is inspired by pre-Columbian history, the popular and indigenous traditions, and the region’s environment.

Some artisans carve stone spheres, reproducing the pre-Columbian monoliths characteristic of Costa Rica’s South Pacific. To attain roundness they employ bases and metal arches which help give the pieces their final finish. These sculptors obtain the raw material from natural igneous rock outcroppings in the region and the Grande de Térraba River, from where they extract boulders and rocks.

Other works in stone combine traditional, popular and contemporary motifs. They use rudimentary tools to produce them, such as picks, chisels and hammers, besides using modern electrical tools.

Wood, coconut, bamboo and gourds are raw materials for other type of crafts. Practical and decorative artifacts such as tables, lamps, flower-pots, hammocks, rafts, bows, arrows, pestles, vases, cups, pitchers, pens, key-rings, spoons, and the traditional boruca masks are made by carving, engraving and lathing.

The natural fibers and handmade paper are used to produce boxes, envelopes, agendas, notebooks, bags, clothing and hats, among others. Theses crafts combine indigenous, traditional and popular motifs, as well as their own local flora and fauna motifs.  


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