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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Bowls, Plates and Vessels : Mayan Blackware Incised Bowl
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Mayan Blackware Incised Bowl - PF.2572
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 550 AD to 950 AD
Dimensions: 6.5" (16.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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This extraordinary black ware vessel epitomizes the Mayan artist's ability to successfully incorporate the symbolic language of his culture into a ceramic vessel, resulting in a work of art that speaks to the ages. Here we see a deep bowl whose upper exterior surface is decorated with alternating impressed circles and an incised geometric surface is decorated with alternating impressed circles and an incised geometric pattern. Two parallel-incised lines separate this handsome pattern from a design that covers the remainder of the vessel. This portion of the pot is imaginatively etched with a design that spirals around the vessel, starting at a point just below the upper border. The design consists of a series of stylized wings and two large Mayan glyphs in the form of a modified winged quincunx, an arrangement of five circles, one at each corner and one in the middle, surrounded by a square. Below the pair of glyphs is an encircling glyph associated with Mayan divinity. Framing the bottom portion of the overall design are a series of incised parallel lines and stylized wings that flow downward around the vessel. Complex imagery and its creative rendering combine to make this vessel a unique example of Mayan artistry. Although the ancient meaning behind the symbolic language may be unclear, what is known for certain is the pleasure that is experienced when we behold this remarkable work of ceramic art. - (PF.2572)


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