Guatemalan Pacific Coast
200 B.C.- A.D. 200
L. 31 cm (12.25"). W. 23.5 cm (9.25")
A functional, small rectangular, corn-grinding stone with two rectangular supports, smoothly concave working surface, and deeply grooved border. A splendid low-relief upended turtle is carved on the bottom surface. Shown are his profile head, short tail, splayed limbs, and lower scored carapace framed by the upper. A pair of dimples of unknown meaning are pecked on either side of the head.
The specific form of this two-legged metate is documented archaeologically as being of Late Preclassic type. The natural-istic turtle image fits nicely in the repertoire of the coastal Izapan style, though this presentation is unique. In Meso-american mythology a turtle may be conceived as the surface of the earth. Here maize, the staff of life, could be ground directly on its back (if not hallucinogenic powders for shamanistic rites).