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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Metates and Altars : Guanacaste-Nicoya Basalt Ceremonial Metate
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Guanacaste-Nicoya Basalt Ceremonial Metate - PF.4869
Origin: Guanacaste, Nicoya, Costa Rica
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 11" (27.9cm) high x 24" (61.0cm) depth
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Guanacaste-Nicoya
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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A curved grinding plate is a distinguishing feature of metates made in the Guanacaste-Nicoya Zone. There is some debate whether they were intended as chair for important person, or as instruments for grinding corn and other foods. Those with three legs were certainly not intended as chairs, and were consigned to tombs along with their owners. Used as a practical household device, the metate was also a symbol promulgated by the elite classes to represent transformation in the human life cycle. The raw grain grown on protected lands is ground into food for the nourishment of the people. all due to the power of the noble classes. This 'power' is then seen to continue on into the next world through an object of transformation. The metate therefore exists on two levels; on the physical plane as a functional work of art, and on the metaphysical sphere as a metaphor. Perhaps like the ancient Egyptians, the Costa Rican nobility believed they would use their personal possessions in the next life. In such a case they would want their most treasured objects to go with them, such as this elegant metate. - (PF.4869)


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