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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Molded Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Molded Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6269
Origin: Mesoamerica
Circa: 300 BC to 900 AD
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Mayan
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: Great Britain
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This beige colored cylindrical vessel has been decorated with a scene molded onto the surface of the wet clay before it was fired. The scene, repeated twice, represents a kneeling shaman performing a sacred ritual. Luxurious adornments cover his body, from the fanciful feathered headdress that crowns his head to his earring, beaded necklace, and bracelets, presumably made from jade, indicating that this individual is someone of rank and importance. Most intriguing, an undulating object curls forth from his mouth. While at first glance, this appears to be his tongue, closer inspection reveals a bulbous tip that refutes this initial interpretation. It is instead likely that this object represents a psychedelic mushroom, the sacred food of the gods that allowed mankind to communicate with the immortals. Thus, we can assume that this shaman is in the midst of a ceremonial trance, an assumption reinforced by his unusual posture, holding his arms along the sides of his chest with his elbows sticking outwards. This gorgeous cylinder vase must have played a vital role in long forgotten rituals. Rediscovered in a tomb, this vessel was as important in the next life as it was in this one. - (PF.6269)


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