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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Metates and Altars : Atlantic Watershed Basalt Metate
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Atlantic Watershed Basalt Metate - PF.2815
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 700 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 5.75" (14.6cm) high x 9.5" (24.1cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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This unique type of ceremonial grinding stone was the most important ritual object of its time in Costa Rica, serving as a very special burial object for high-status members of society. In daily life the metate as a utilitarian grinding stone had the power to transform seeds and kernels into flour. When placed in the tomb, the metate symbolized for the deceased the assurance of another type of transformation -- a rebirth, the beginning of new life. This particular metate is one of the finest stone sculptures of its kind. On it we see four masked figures with arms upraised, supporting the round plate of the metate. Surrounding the rim of the metate plate is carved geometric patterns that add to the elegance of design in this stunning work of art. The Costa Rican artists' complete mastery of the medium coupled with an aesthetic that was sensitive to the natural and supernatural world, resulted in this highly spirited masterpiece of sculpted stone, ageless in its ability to stimulate our se nses. - (PF.2815)


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