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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Carved Terracotta Tripod Vessel
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Mayan Carved Terracotta Tripod Vessel - PF.6270
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Diminutive tripod legs slightly elevate this vessel off the ground. The sides are decorated with a scene, repeated three times, that is both carved in a openwork pattern as well as engraved. These scenes, although highly stylized, almost to the point of abstraction, seem to depicts a face in profile, looking left, casting a down turned eye. The rest of the scene is filled with abstract geometric lines featuring many openwork gaps. What was the purpose of this vessel? Similar pieces were undoubtedly used as cups, however, considering that several holes permeate the surface of this work, it was definitely not used for the ritual consumption of beverages. Perhaps then, it may have contained an offering of a different kind, such as food or other sacred libations. May it once have been full of corn and presented to the maize god high upon his temple? While the original function of this vessel remains, like much about the Maya, a mystery, we can easily comprehend it stunning beauty and fascinating history. This gorgeous small container is a relic of an ancient civilization that inspires us to imagine what life might have been like in the jungles of their lost world. - (PF.6270)


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