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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Jaguar Metates : Atlantic Watershed Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar
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Atlantic Watershed Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar - PF.2787
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 5" (12.7cm) high x 6.75" (17.1cm) wide x 12.5" (31.8cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Exquisitely carved from a single piece of volcanic rock, this metate exhibits remarkable grace and proportion. Elaborate effigy grinding stones such as this ceremonial jaguar metate were the most important ritual objects of their time in Costa Rica. Like all mankind, the Ancient Costa Ricans sought to relieve the uncertainty of death. The quest for immortality and a reverence for ancestors led to elaborate burial practices. The metate as a grinding stone in everyday life had the trans-formative ‘power’ to change a seed or kernel into flour. Because of this power, the metate became a symbol of transformation in the human life cycle. This particular metate carved in the shape of a jaguar displays yet another symbol of extreme importance to the Ancient Costa Rican society. The jaguar was regarded as the most powerful animal in the world, to be honored and revered; it even had certain divine characteristics. The commanding attributes of the transformation and power are artistically portrayed in this superb jaguar metate. Its powerfully carved head with its snarling, and the curled tail that appears to have just at this moment swung to the side and attached itself to the back leg; all combine to give this feline a timeless aura of respect and power. HT. 13cm(5IN): L. 42cm(16 1/2) - (PF.2787)


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