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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Lidded Vessel Depicting Tlaloc the Rain God
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Mayan Lidded Vessel Depicting Tlaloc the Rain God - PF.3103
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 8.25" (21.0cm) high x 6.75" (17.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Before the land is cleared and the scrub burned a ritual ceremony was performed of the utmost importance. After two days of ceremonies a shaman would offer thirteen gourds and two shallow gourds of balche (a mead drink) to the four rain gods (Chacs). Following a chant by four assistants the balche is distributed for everyone to drink, for it is believed the beverage cleanses one of evil. Thus begins an Ancient Maya ceremony still practiced in Yucatan today. This powerful cylindrical vessel captures the essence of a mythical deity who causes thunder and lightening, as well as bringing rain. It is highly textured with thick ridges and folds giving the impression of an ancient being, who has managed to maintain certain human characteristics. It is possible this vessel was used to hold balche, perhaps owned by a shaman who used it during the yearly ritual. There is a sense the vessel was created in a moment of passion, as if the artist was working through inspiration, attempting to fashion an image of something larger than life on a human scale. This gives the object greater intensity and depth, while expressing in visual form the mysteries of growth and regeneration. - (PF.3103)


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