A fine and impressive Pre-Columbian ceremonial stone metate (grinding stone) from ancient Costa Rica. This example is of the Greater Nicoya type, dating to Period IV, circa 1 A.D. – 500 A.D. Measures impressively at approximately 14 1/2” long by about 6 1/2″” wide and about 7 3/4” tall. Masterfully carved by an ancient crafts person from a single block of fine-grained stone (likely Andesite), this example features elaborately carved decorative elements. The legs depict finely worked complex zoomorphic forms, incorporating elements of various animal forms. The top shows an intricate sensitively carved pattern indicative of the Nicoya type. Such objects are believed to have been made for ceremonial, rather than utilitarian use, a theory supported by very minimal use wear on the top surface of this metate. This suggests that it was likely used only briefly, perhaps once, in a ceremony or ritual before being interred near the deceased, for presumed use in the afterlife. Provenance: Former Atlanta, Georgia, USA private collection.Reference: See Rebecca Stone-Miller’s book “Seeing with New Eyes – Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum…”, page 134 for comparable examples and scholarly information.