Atlantic Watershed / Flying-Panel Metate / 1st?5th centuryAtlantic Watershed
Flying-Panel Metate
1st?5th century

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Creator Nationality: North American; Native American
Creator Name-CRT: Atlantic Watershed
Title: Flying-Panel Metate
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 1
Creation End Date: 499
Creation Date: 1st?5th century
Creation Place: Costa Rica
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Stone
Dimensions: H. 10 in. (25.4 cm)
Description: Metates, tablelike objects of stone used in ancient Mesoamerica for the grinding of foodstuffs such as corn, underwent particular elaboration in Central America, where they took on special meanings as well as unusual sculptural forms. These new meanings are thought to be based on the original function of the metate as a tool: like the transformation of the workaday celt into a special ornament, the grinding table became a ritual object. In the Atlantic Watershed region, the source of the present example, the metate's three supporting legs were embellished with complex carvings of a wide range of imagery. On the underside of this metate, which is carved entirely from one piece of volcanic stone, five beady-eyed and snarling felines are worked into the legs. A tour de force of stone carving, metates of this type?called "flying-panel metates"?have been discovered in burials associated with jade objects.
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1986.200
Credit Line: Gift of Fine Arts of Ancient Lands Inc., in memory of John Ogle, 1986
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1986.200
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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