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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Jaguar Metates : Atlantic Watershed Basalt Jaguar Metate
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Atlantic Watershed Basalt Jaguar Metate - PF.2321
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 700 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 14.625" (37.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Monumental zoomorphic-effigy grinding stones such as this magnificent stone jaguar 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 and wood tools plus abrasives, these metates exhibit remarkably graceful lines and proportion. Like all mankind, the Ancient Costa Ricans sought to relieve the uncertainty of death. This quest for immortality and a reverence for ancestors led to elaborate burial practices. This powerful metate functioned as a special burial item, its presence in the tomb insuring 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 these stunning ceremonial metates is the later development of the first freestanding 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. HT. 37cm(14 9/16IN): L. 94cm(37IN) - (PF.2321)


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