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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Jaguar Metates : Costa Rican Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar
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Costa Rican Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar - PF.2287
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 6.625" (16.8cm) high x 7.75" (19.7cm) wide x 18.125" (46.0cm) depth
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Zoomorphic effigy grinding stones such as this magnificent stone feline metate were the most important ritual objects of their time in Costa Rica. Exquisitely carved from a single piece of volcanic rock with only stone, wooden or other perishable tools, plus abrasives, these metates exhibit remarkably graceful lines and proportion. Functioning as burial items for the wealthy, high-status members of society, their presence in the burial tomb insured the deceased of an eventual rebirth, the beginning of a new life. The metate symbolized this transformation because of its every-day utilitarian function as a grinding stone, transforming a seed or kernel into flour. This particular metate exudes an aura of power and dynamism. The sweeping upward curve of the metate plate which serves as the feline's body, coupled with the large and powerfully extended head, makes one expect to see the animal move forward, giving an attribute of life to this stone feline. The magnificent artistry of the region is attested to by the striking openwork carving on the tripod legs and the feline's head, with its long graceful neck and snarling visage. A legacy of the stunning sculpture in the region. The legacy of this work of art continues into the present, for to behold this feline is to revere it, just as it was revered so many centuries ago. - (PF.2287)


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