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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Molded Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Molded Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6191b
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 7.25" (18.4cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: UAE
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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. This gorgeous peach-colored vessel has been imprinted with a series of molded designs. The designs are each repeated twice. One is a mat motif of interwoven fibers, a traditional Mayan pattern. The other scene depicts a seated shaman or high priest leaning forward with his long tongue sticking out as if licking his hand. He wears a feathered headdress, a beaded necklace, and a spotted skirt that may be made out of jaguar skins. Such luxurious ornamentation suggests that this person was a high-ranking member of the Mayan elite, perhaps even a king. The lower portion of the softly tapering body is spotted with a series of six bosses arranged in triangular forms. 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.6191b)


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