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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Cylindrical Vessel - PF.3467
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 4.5" (11.4cm) high x 7.125" (18.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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The summit of the classical age in Ancient Mesoamerica was reached by the Maya in their great temple cities. In those temple cities, great artistic expressions such as murals and sculptures flourished. It is during this classical period in which artists created magnificent polychrome vessels, which depict various Mayan gods, mythological animals and hieroglyphs. This cylindrical vessel is a fine example of such creations. Dressed in warm earthy colors and decorated with intricately painted figures and pictorial motifs, the vessel radiates with its subtle and yet poignant beauty. The vessel shows two mysterious, mythological animals wi1h elaborate enhancements. Both creatures' faces resemble birds with their large open beaks revealing teeth. The elongated body shape and the tail like structure, however, suggest that they may be mythological serpents. Perhaps they are avian-serpent beings or gods. One has a circular structure with flame-like motifs in front of the mouth, as if the animal is blowing out fire or smoke. The middle portion of the body is decorated with several coiling shapes and the large tail is curved upward. Painted in similar manner is the other mythical being which is facing upward. The top portion is decorated with a band of a repeating motif, and the bottom portion depicts images that appear to be bundled scrolls or reed. The Ancient Mayans worshiped a myriad of gods and magical animals and this vessel gives us a glimpse into such a complex Mystical world. The fluid, gestural lines create a distinct visual affect, leading our eyes around the vessel, around each shape of the pictorial depiction. Hundreds of years after the vessel's creation, we still appreciate its beauty that is sure to last for ages to come. - (PF.3467)


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