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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Bowls, Plates and Vessels : Mayan Polychrome Bowl
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Mayan Polychrome Bowl - PF.5665
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3.625" (9.2cm) high x 8.25" (21.0cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The exterior of this vessel is divided into two bands. The upper level is decorated by and abstract series of red and black forms against a background of red speckles. A red ring frames the top and bottom of this band. Three orange monkeys chase each other across the lower level of the bowl. Large red circles alternate in between them. Their hooked tails are most prominent, as are their spindly fingers stretched out as if supporting the upper band on their heads. Perhaps there is a symbolic significance in the arrangement of this composition now lost to us. A series of glyphs has been painted inside the bowl. The glyphs are wide crescent-shaped forms. Some rest horizontally and are contained within a thin red circle; others stand vertically and are connected to the first by two diagonal lines. Clearly, these glyphs must stand for something quite significant: perhaps the king or dignitary they were created for, perhaps the location they were fired. What is certain is the importance of this vessel to the Mayans. Discovered in a tomb along side a ruler, this bowl was as essential in the afterlife as it was in this world. - (PF.5665)


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