A metate or metlatl (or mealing stone) is a type or variety of quern, a ground stone tool used for processing grain and seeds. In traditional Mesoamerican culture, metates were typically used by women who would grind lime-treated maize and other organic materials during food preparation (e.g., making tortillas). Similar artifacts are found all over the world, including China.Cite error: A
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</ref> (see the help page). One of the oldest and most prominent themes in Chibcha art is that of the Crocodile god. Depicted as an anthropomorphic being with a crocodile head, he has been carved into fly-panel metates, sometimes shown standing on a double-headed saurian and other times on a jaguar. As a symbol, the double-headed Saurian has the longest use and distribution of any iconographic element in the Isthmo-Columbian area.
Costa Rica flying-panel metates date to the 1st and 7th centuries. However, certain features of the Crocodile god depicted on flying-panel metates show him with unnatural U-shaped elbows and long, narrow fingers, as seen on crocodile gods made in gold that date to the 10th-16th centuries. These stylistic forms make sense for use in the small gold ornaments made with the lost-wax technique, but seem strange for use in carved stone. Perhaps these metate date much later than previously thought, and were inspired by the depictions in gold.
Birds with long, curving beaks that seem to represent vultures, toucans or maybe hummingbirds are another popular theme. First found in Costa Rica on Pavas and El Bosque-phase pottery, these are a common element in flying-panel metates, sometimes depicted with or pecking at human heads.
Use of a metate in India
- http://www.reference-wordsmith.com/cgi-bin/lookup.cgi?exact=1&terms=ding[dead link]
- Quilter and Hoopes 2003:73-75.
- Graham, M.M. (1981). Traditions of Costa Rican Stone Sculpture. In Between Continents/Between Seas: Precolumbian Art of Costa Rica, pp. 113–134. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York.
- Lange, F.W. (1996). Paths to Central American Prehistory. University Press of Colorado. Niwot, Colorado.
- Quilter, J. & Hoopes, J. (2003). Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia. Dumbarton Oaks. Washington D.C.
- Snarskis, M.J. (1981). The Archaeology of Costa Rica. In Between Continents/Between Seas: Precolumbian Art of Costa Rica, pp. 15–84. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York.
- Stone, D. (1977). Precolumbian Man in Costa Rica. Peabody Museum Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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