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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Black Tripod Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Black Tripod Cylindrical Vessel - PF.4555
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 1000 AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
The Maya used ceramic vessels for three main purposes- ritual ceremonies, burial objects, and household utensils. The vessels that survive have mainly been found in burial chambers, and most of these were elite tombs of the nobility or wealthy individuals who desired to take their most beautiful objects with them in their journey into the afterlife. In the early classic period (250 - 500 A.D.) a major stylistic development occurred involving the manipulation of the surface of vessels in the form of incising, gouging or scraping. This was usually done on vessels that were slipped black and mostly confined to cylindrical tripods. The detailed ornamentation consists of scroll-like characters that encircle the vessel and are highly geometric in effect. The idea for the cylindrical shape may have come from Teotihuacan whose influence was widely felt in the Maya area. However, in the Maya hands the ceramic works acquired a greater refinement and elegance; qualities seen in this handsome black tripod. Intended perhaps as a drinking vessel for chocolate, (a rare and costly beverage), this cylinder was probably owned by one of the Maya elite. Given its elegant lines and dramatic texture, it is no wonder someone wished to bring it along into the spirit world. Ironically, it is beautifully worked clay, which has survived the centuries; still as lovely as the day it was made. - (PF.4555)

 

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