Property from the Family of Herbert Baker, Chicago and Los Angeles
COSTA RICAN STONE EFFIGY METATE GREATER NICOYA REGION, CIRCA AD 800 - 1200
Length: 23 ½ in (59.7 cm)
Generally very good condition. Fine carving on the underside. The proper front left corner with a clean break and repair, diagonally from the short front to long side. Some loss to the tip of the proper left projecting bird head, the tip of the beak now missing. A label on the underside reading: "P2."
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Herbert Baker, Chicago and Los Angeles, acquired by the late 1960s
Thence by family descent
This metate is a fine example of the reductive carving so renowned in the elaborate basalt metates of the Greater Nicoya and Atlantic Watershed zones. It is unusual for the openwork "curtain" form suspended laterally between the front and rear legs. Each of the four legs is an upside-down pot-bellied figure with hands raised to the face, and carved on each "curtain" is a long-beaked bird also shown upside down, whose torso is marked by plumage and an openwork cross. The curved platform has two projecting avian heads on one end, and the underside of the platform is finely carved with the 'mat motif' of woven elements flanked on each short end by 'selvedge' elements.
For similar metates see Stone, Pre-Columbian Man in Costa Rica, New York, 1977, pp. 197-199, fig. 266; also see similar metates in the Denver Art Museum, Object no. 1995.566, and Object no. 2017.234.