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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Jaguar Metates : Costa Rican Basalt Metate in the Form of a Double-Headed Jaguar
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Costa Rican Basalt Metate in the Form of a Double-Headed Jaguar - PF.2290
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 700 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 6.375" (16.2cm) high x 10" (25.4cm) wide x 16.125" (41.0cm) depth
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This ceremonial metate is an exciting example of the stonework created by the people of Pre- Columbian Costa Rica. Skillfully carved from a single piece of volcanic stone with only the use of stone and wood tools plus abrasives, this metate exhibits a remarkable combination of serene lines and dramatic energy. Here we see the gentle curves of the round metate bowl that forms the single body of two jaguars, contrasting vividly with the bold and dynamic feline heads that project from opposite ends of the body. At the same time, two pairs of gracefully rounded feline legs that serve as the metates support, are patterned with angular geometric designs once again emphasizing the contrasts between the various components that form this lively work of feline art. Jaguars were highly revered in ancient Costa Rica not only for their strength but also their furtiveness. Able to apprehend the strongest of prey while also capable of slinking through the night undetected, these animals were esteemed and worshiped for contrastive nature. This carved jaguar metate exhibits a similar dichotomy of qualities, revealing to us the Ancient Costa Rican artists acute sensitivity to the natural world and his uncanny ability to translate that animate world into a lively work of sculptural art. - (PF.2290)


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