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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Pre-Columbian Masterpieces : Mayan Painted Terracotta Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Painted Terracotta Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6292
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Painted Terracotta

Location: UAE
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This vessel exudes a mysterious energy, an ancient intangible potency that is as radiant today as the day it was fired. Much like we can conceive of spirits haunting the earth after their bodily demise, ancient spiritual powers continue to inhabit certain sacred object long after the civilization that created them has faded away. This cylindrical container is certainly one such object. A band of decorative pseudo-glyphs, all appearing to represent faces, just below the rim of the vessel frame the central design. A large kneeling figure with an elongated, hooked upper lip and a looping nose is repeated three times. These scenes are divided by a red border and a vertical column of pseudo-glyphs similar to those seen above. These stylized faces also evoke the visage of the main kneeling figure. Who might this man represent? A mythological god? A masked shaman performing a religious ritual? Both these scenarios are valid possibilities, however, the true meaning remains elusive. This masterful work of ancient Mayan pottery must have played a vital role in a long forgotten ceremony. Its importance is reflected both in its tremendous craftsmanship as well as the glyphs that adorn it. Found in the tomb of an ancient ruler or dignitary, this vessel was as essential to the ancient Mayan in the next world as it was in this one. - (PF.6292)


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