GUANACASTE – NICOYA – Costa Rica
300 – 700 A.D.
- Height : 42,7 cm
- Width : 41,3 cm
- Length : 85,7 cm
Grey volcanic stone with brown patina.
Zoomorphic sculpture representing a ceremonial metate shaped as a harpy eagle. The three angular legs are decorated with engraved motifs with symbolic connotations and lined on the inner part with openwork interlacing. The stylized body of the animal, with its quadrangular and concave shape, was used as a plate. The edges are adorned with engravings, as well as the transversal part – close to the head – which is fitted with a band of interlaced circles framing a central motif. The rectilinear neck of the bird is ornamented with the same openwork. The head of the harpy eagle is identifiable by its hook-nose and the two small bulges on the top of the head. The eyes made of three concentric circles, are in relief.
The metate was a ceremonial altar where corns, plants and hallucinogenic herbs were ground during shamanic rituals. Those tripod metates mainly represent animals and are in line with the notion of fertility, essential element for the farming populations.