Much of Mayan art was dedicated to the
glorification of their great kings, priests, and
gods and to their remarkable concepts of time.
Although portions of the specific iconographic
meanings are still somewhat ambiguous in
Mayan art, much is known today about the
artistic techniques of this masterful craftsman.
This extraordinary polychrome cylinder vessel
reveals the characteristic pictorial methods used
by the artists. Brushes, much like those of the
Chinese, were used for the line work in painting
as well as writing. In fact, the stunning
calligraphic line work on this Mayan vessel
clearly rivals that of the Chinese as a model of
the world's greatest calligraphic traditions. The
Mayan artists' acute sensitivity to the boundaries
of the pictorial field is also affirmed in this
vessel, for the central, painted composition is
suitably framed by a striped and glyphic band
not only performs a stylistic function but also,
through the glyphic language, becomes a
harbinger of information. When coupled with the
other glyphs and figures on the vessel, the vase
becomes a communicator to the Ancient Maya.
Although the specific iconographic meaning may
be unclear today, the communicative power on
an artistic level is still very compelling. Clearly,
the artworks of the Maya stand as a testament to
a culture whose aesthetic sensibilities are ageless
in their ability to transmit spirited messages to
all who are fortunate enough to encounter them.