Atlantic Watershed Basalt Metate - PF.3550, Origin: Eastern Coast of Costa Rica, Circa: 100 AD to 500 AD, Dimensions: 13.5" (34.3cm) high x 24.5" (62.2cm) wide, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Style: Atlantic Watershed, Medium: Basalt. The flying-panel metates of late period IV, are among the finest examples of stone carving in the central highlands of the Atlantic watershed zone. A raised-rim metate plate, usually in the shape of a square or a rectangle, is perched upon a veritable panoply of zoomorphic deity images. The delicate openwork on these large sculptures was accomplished with only stone and organic tools plus abrasive. These metates were probably used to process special foodstuffs and /or drugs in ritual contexts, and many may have been made as mortuary furniture. This flying- panel metate is sculpted with flat top slate with tripod supports that are decorated with complex imagery. On each support, a bird (possibly a harpy eagle) with a large beak sits on a small, crouching human figure. This image possibly represents the sacrificial victims required by the bird. Beneath the slate stands a man wearing a jaguar mask and a decorated waistband, further establishing reference to sacrificial rituals. And to complete the elaborate enhancement, stylized notches line the exterior rim of the metate plate. Skillfully carved with complex symbolic imageries, the flying-panel metate is as precious and beautiful as it was more than a thousand years ago.
Ancient Central America & Mexico