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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.2288
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 1 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 6.25" (15.9cm) high x 8.125" (20.6cm) wide x 20.25" (51.4cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt


Location: United States
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Description
Elaborate effigy grinding stones such as this magnificent ceremonial jaguar metate were the most important ritual objects of their time in Costa Rica. They served as a burial item for wealthy, high-status members of society. The metate as a grinding stone in every-day life had the tranformative 'power' to change a seed or kernel into flour. Because of this power, it became a symbol of transformation in the human life cycle. When the metate was placed in a tomb it represented the human transformation of rebirth, the beginning of a new life cycle. The purely ceremonial function of this particular metate is attested to by the unpolished surface of the grinding area. The ancient beauty, strength and dynamism this jaguar effigy exuded in the past can still be seen and experienced today. Its powerfully carved head with snarling teeth flared nostrils, the curled tail that appears to have just this moment swung to the side and attached itself to the back leg, the slightly bent legs with their energetically carved geometric patterns all combine to give this feline a timeless artistic dynamism. In fact, the creativity evidenced in this piece and other ceremonial metates of its time contributed to the creation of the first freestanding sculpture in the region. The legacy of this jaguar continues into the present for its power and beauty is still a joy to behold. - (PF.2288)

 

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