Ceremonial Bird Effigy Grinding Stone (metate)On Display

A sculptor made this tripod metate from a single piece of extremely brittle volcanic stone. The legs, pierced through and adorned with interlocking geometric motifs, each show an inverted bird whose head touches the ground. Women used functional metates to grind corn; however ritual objects like this one, placed in burial sites, would have served the deceased in the afterlife. The upside-down birds may refer to the use of the object in the underworld.

  • 300 - 700 (Period IV - V)
  • 15 x 27 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (38.1 x 69.9 x 24.8 cm)
  • 1971.41
  • Museum purchase