Guanacaste / Ceremonial Metate / 4th?8th centuryGuanacaste
Ceremonial Metate
4th?8th century

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Creator Nationality: North American; Central American; Costa Rican
Creator Name-CRT: Guanacaste
Title: Ceremonial Metate
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 300
Creation End Date: 799
Creation Date: 4th?8th century
Creation Place: Costa Rica
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Stone
Dimensions: H. 20 1/8 in. (51.1 cm)
Description: Even today, stone metates in the Americas are used to grind maize and other foodstuffs. Certain ancient rituals must have incorporated this activity and required special metates to be created for this purpose. The decorative quality of this metate suggests a ceremonial function. Carved in volcanic stone, this object bears a fretted edge, tripod legs covered with geometric relief and cut-outs, and, at one end, an abstract bird's-head motif, perhaps a parrot. The ornament may be related to the owner of this object or to the ritual in which the metate was used. Its function as a surface for grinding maize, a staple food of the region from which it comes, links this sculpture with the notion of fertility, a primary concern for an agricultural people. It has been suggested that the ceremonial metate, given its ritual importance, may have also served as a throne for the ruler, for whom the assurance of the fertility of his land and people would have been paramount.
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1979.206.429
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1979.206.429
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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