China imports stone spheres as gift to municipality

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Each of the stone sphere replicas are branded with a message in Chinese of their origin.

In order to signify the friendship of China and Costa Rica, the Beijing government presented San José with a number of Diquis spheres, said a spokesperson from the Chinese association.

These pre-Columbian replicas were placed around the grand archway of the new Calle Chino Sept. 24.

Diquis spheres or las bolas have become a symbol of the country’s history. They were believed to be formed by ancient civilizations and were discovered in the Diquis River Delta region and Isla de Caño regions by workers from the United Fruit Co.

Because of their near perfect shape, heavy weight and creation from a nonmalleable stone, the makers of the spheres remain a mystery. Many myths exist, including that they came from Atlantis or that nature itself carved them. The BriBri even have a creation story that says Tara, god of thunder, used them as cannon balls to protect the land from the wind god.

Even still, the spheres are icons in Costa Rican architecture. They can be seen at the Museo National, the Plaza de Justicia, Universidad de Costa Rica and even the back of the old five thousand colon note.

Each sphere at Calle Chino is branded with a special stamp to remind everyone of the union and where they come from. They either read in Chinese “San José City Government October 1, 2012” or “Beijing Municipal Government, October 1, 2012.”

The date also symbolizes the Dia de la Cultura China which was celebrated Monday.

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