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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Metates and Altars : Atlantic Watershed Ceremonial Basalt Metate
Atlantic Watershed Ceremonial Basalt Metate - PF.4101
Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica
Circa: 1000 AD
Dimensions: 11.25" (28.6cm) high x 15.75" (40.0cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt


Location: United States
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Description
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 Atlantean monkey 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 senses. - (PF.4101)

 

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