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Metate: Gallery Label - Current

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

2006-01-06

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Flying panel metates or grinding stones such as this one were among the largest sculptures produced in Central America. They were prestige ritual objects owned by chiefs, and symbolically represented his control over labor and agricultural surplus. Themes portrayed on these metates are generally quite complex, but are almost always related to issues of fertility and renewal. The tripod supports of this sculpture feature figures of captives with their heads held in the beaks of birds, a reference to agriculture and sowing, as heads were symbolic of seeds. The central panel shows an individual with outstretched arms wearing a crocodile mask, surrounded by serpents. Both animals are connected to the earth and the supernatural.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009