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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Basalt Metates and Altars : Basalt Metate in the Form of a Bird
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Basalt Metate in the Form of a Bird - PF.2292
Origin: Costa Rica
Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD
Dimensions: 12.875" (32.7cm) high x 13" (33.0cm) wide x 29.5" (74.9cm) depth
Catalogue: V11
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Basalt

Location: United States
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Zoomorphic-effigy metates such as this stunning example, created in Costa Rica, rank among the most extraordinary examples of stone sculpture in prehistoric America. Carved from a single piece of volcanic rock with only stone, wooden, or other perishable tools, plus abrasives, this metate, given its monumental size, exhibits remarkably graceful lines and proportions. The geometric low-relief carving and open fretwork on the tripod legs set off the sweeping curve of the metate plate handsomely. The avian head with its downward thrusting beak gives this ritual metate an energy that bespeaks of ancient rites and ephemeral spirits. A legacy of these stunning carved metates is the later development of the first freestanding sculpture in the region. The legacy of this work of art continues into the present for its power and beauty continues to give us awe. - (PF.2292)


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