Mayan Polychrome Cylinder Vase

SKU PF.1443
Circa

500 AD to 900 AD

Dimensions

9″ (22.9cm) high

Medium

Terracotta

Origin

Guatemala

Gallery Location

USA


 

At the height of their empire, the Maya captured the myths, rituals, and humor of life on vividly painted pottery. Because these vessels were often buried with their aristocratic owners, it is possible to glimpse Mayan life in all its diversity. Here, beneath a frieze of glyphs, three richly dressed individuals (perhaps players in the ritual ballgame) are shown offering sacrifice to demons of the underworld. The importance of this vessel to its ancient owners is indicated by the four holes bored near the rim; in the absence of glue in antiquity, pottery repairs were made by tying pieces together with leather thongs. Clearly this splendid vessel was valued in its own age. The passage of time has made it even more precious as a record of a vanished world.

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