Stone Mortar - PF.3703, Origin: Costa Rica, Circa: 500 AD to 800 AD, Dimensions: 12.25" (31.1cm) high, Catalogue: V18, Collection: Pre-Columbian, Medium: Green Stone. The stylized features on this mortar resemble alligator images seen on stone masks and standing figures from the same period. Most dramatic is the wide-open mouth revealing two rows of well-formed teeth, sharp fangs and tongue. Semi-circular creases on the cheeks show tightening of the skin, beside the curved snout or horn that touches the forehead. There is a geometric balance created by the circles of the nostrils, large eyes and tops of the ears. These eyes are simply fashioned by the use of an outer rim with no details within, yet the effect is very striking. Mortars, such as this powerful example, were most likely used for grinding foods or herbs for ritualistic purposes; perhaps connected with the many alligator cults which flourished in Costa Rica's ancient past.
Ancient Central America & Mexico