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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Babilonia Style Mayan Polychrome Zoomorphic Vessel
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Babilonia Style Mayan Polychrome Zoomorphic Vessel - PF.3455
Origin: San Salvador, El Salvador
Circa: 600 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Catalogue: V24
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The summit of the classical age in ancient Mesoamerica was reached by the Maya in their great temple cities. In those temple cities, great artistic expressions such as murals and sculptures flourished. It is during this classical period in which artists created magnificent polychrome vessels which depict various Mayan gods, mythological animals and hieroglyphs. This cylindrical vessel is a fine example of such creations. Dressed in warm earthy colors and decorated with intricately painted figures and mystical animals, the vessel radiates with its subtle and yet poignant beauty. The vessel shows human figures wearing bird masks which have resemblance of raptorial birds that often appear on ancient Mayan vessels. From the open beaks of the masks, smoke is coming out in a stylized fashion. Moreover, the figures have lizard-like animals mounted on their backs which retain traces of beautiful blue-gray paint. Most interestingly, two birds' heads protrude out from the vessel, below which stand human figures wearing feathered costumes. The top and bottom portion of the vessel are also decorated with bands of human heads wearing elaborate headdresses. The ancient Mayans worshiped myriad of gods and magical animals and this vessel gives us a glimpse into such a complex world of mystical beings. The fluid, gestural lines create a distinct visual affect, leading our eyes around the vessel, around each shape of the pictorial depiction. Hundreds of years after the vessel's creation, we still appreciate its beauty that is sure to last for ages to come. - (PF.3455)


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