Mayan Polychrome Bowl

SKU PF.5639

300 AD to 900 AD


3.5″ (8.9cm) high x 5.25″ (13.3cm) wide




El Salvador

Gallery Location



The exterior of this bowl is covered in decorative bands painted with red, orange, and black hues against the beige of the pottery. Most of the bands appear to be purely ornamental, perhaps only the central band, a series of cross-shaped patterns contained within a circle, has any relation to glyphic inscriptions. Otherwise, the decorations are quite abstract and jovial. We see spiraling curves, rows of curving dots, and solid color fields. This vessel was probably used for the ritual consumption of a Mayan concoction made from chilies and cacao. The most revealing detail of this vessel important stature is the location of its discovery. Found inside a tomb, buried next to a fallen ruler or dignitary, this bowl was as essential in the afterlife as it was in this world.

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