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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Jaguar Metates : Guanacaste-Nicoya Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Basalt Metate in the Form of a Jaguar - PF.3551
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 300 AD to 700 AD
Dimensions: 26" (66.0cm) high x 31" (78.7cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt


Location: United States
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Description
The zoomorphic-effigy metates manufactured in Guanacaste-Nicoya from about 300 – 700A.D. rank among the finest examples of stone sculptures in pre-historic America. Carved from a single piece of volcanic rock, they exhibit remarkably graceful lines and proportions; the sweeping curve of the plain metate plate is set off by intricate low-relief volutes and open fretwork on the tripod legs. Many metates show considerable wear from the grinding of substance, probably maize, on their upper surface. Their use, however, was most likely restricted to ritual occasions. Certain elite males might have possessed metates for ritual food preparation, along with other status items such as jade pendants. The zoomorphic effigies on these metates also may have been clan symbols or deity representations. Elaborately sculpted, this important jaguar metate perhaps was used in grinding maize for ritual consumption, or was reserved for special occasions for wealthy households. A fine example of such special sculptures, this jaguar metate embodies symbolism and the artistic grace of curving lines and delicate carvings of the legs and the head. The jaguar image suggesting the powerful jaguar god of Meso-America, this metate is undoubtedly beautiful, well-suited for special ritual occasions. A work of art with an important function, this metate's grace is surely to last for times to come. - (PF.3551)

 

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