Pre-Columbian Art :
Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Babilonia Painted Tripod Cylindrical Vessel
Mayan Babilonia Painted Tripod Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6078
7.75" (19.7cm) high
Location: United States
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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 object long after the
civilization that created them has faded away.
This cylindrical container is certainly one such
object. Raised up on three small feet, this vessel
is sparsely, although elegantly, decorated. The
main feature is a large red I-shaped motif
repeated three times along the outer surface.
Interspersed are abstracted, highly stylized,
representations of a costumed figure wearing a
sprawling feathered headdress. Might this be a
god? Perhaps it’s a shaman disguised as a deity?
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.