Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Interesting Basalt Metate Jaguar Barakat Gallery

Basalt Metate in the form of Jaguar
6.375 inches (16.2cm) high x 9.5 inches (24.1cm) wide
1st Century AD to 5th Century AD

This exquisite ceremonial metate was the most important ritual object of its time. Serving as a special 
purpose, high-status grave offering, its function as a metate was secondary to its form. There is no 
evidence of its use as a grinding surface, for the rough interior area of the stone bowl has not been 
smoothed by the use of a mano. In fact, this powerful object, when placed in a tomb, represented both 
elite control over food production and the promise of rebirth and new life. 

The jaguar form of the metate is almost modern in its dynamism. Its head and tail are incised with a 
geometric pattern, perhaps representing the animal's spots. The long tail, which curves to the side and 
attaches itself to the back leg, gives an appearance of swift side-to-side movement. The fierce looking 
N- shaped incisors and teeth, coupled with the curved shape of the legs makes one expect to see the 
animal move forward, adding an attribute of life to this stone feline. The creative artistry evidenced in this 
piece and other ceremonial metates of its time contributed to the creation of the first freestanding 
sculpture in the region. The legacy of this jaguar continues into the present for its power and beauty is 
still a joy to behold.

For more details or further reading please click on the image above.
Barakat Gallery
London: 58 Brook Street, Mayfair, London +442074937778 
Beverly Hills: 421 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California +13108598408
Seoul: 58-4, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, South Korea +821034973413
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