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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Copador Polychrome Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Copador Polychrome Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6086
Origin: El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta


Location: United States
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Description
This vessel exudes a mysterious energy, an ancient intangible potency that is as radiant today as the day it was fired. Much like we can conceive of spirits haunting the earth after their bodily demise, ancient spiritual powers continue to inhabit certain sacred objects long after the civilization that created them has faded away. This cylindrical container is certainly one such object. Two bands depicting seated shamans decorate the outer surface of this vessel. The figures are elegantly adorned in feathered headdresses and colorful costumes painted in rich gray and red polychrome. They lean forward with their arms raised, holding a ribbon of sorts, quite similar in fact to the costume element that extends from their back. The same figure, perhaps a representation of an elite ruler if not a shaman, is repeated across the banner. A smaller band of black cross-hatched net motifs and dots frames the bottom of the upper register and the top of the lower one. Rich red paint fills in the remaining spaces. What was the meaning of this mysterious decoration? Unfortunately, without the aid of glyphic texts, comprehension of this design will remain elusive. This masterful work of ancient Mayan pottery must have played a vital role in a long forgotten ceremony. Its importance is reflected both in its tremendous craftsmanship as well as the glyphs that adorn it. Found in the tomb of an ancient ruler or dignitary, this vessel was as essential to the ancient Mayan in the next world as it was in this one. - (PF.6086)

 

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