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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Metates and Altars : Basalt Circular Metate
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Basalt Circular Metate - PF.4338
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 10.25" (26.0cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Three standing figures serve as legs of this unusual circular metate. Each of the identical figures, positioned at an angle, is naked and attached to the base by their ankles, and on the rim by striated hair pulled back tightly. Their arms are placed over the groin area, their bodies resembling that of a dwarf. The rim is ornamented by a pattern of rectangles incised in the centers by a horizontal line. By making the circular base much smaller than the top, an increase in 'tension' is felt in the upper portion, emphasizing even further the dramatic features of the figures' faces. Metates were elite items used for ceremonial purposes, and also for everyday use in grinding food. They stand as symbols of the transformation process of life and death; useful in both the material world and in the afterlife. - (PF.4338)


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