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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Cylindrical Vases : Mayan Babilonia Polychrome Cylindrical Vessel
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Mayan Babilonia Polychrome Cylindrical Vessel - PF.5622
Origin: Honduras
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 7" (17.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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Originally, this vessel would have been used for consumption of a Mayan concoction made from cacao and chilies. The exterior has been decorated with three painted bands. The narrower upper and lower bands are the same. They contain an abstracted geometric motif repeated four times against a black background. This image appears to be an elaborated feathered headdress possibly referring to a king or shaman. Flattened to fit inside the borders of the band, the design conveys notions of eyes, nose, and ears. The middle band displays a beautifully designed bird with its wings splayed outward. The artist somehow is able to capture the essence of this creature using purely geometrical forms. Only the contours of the talons and head are depicted in a slightly naturalistic fashion. This bird is repeated four times against a crimson background, each one framed by orange triangles. The design elements of the two images attest to a significant relationship between the crown and the bird. Yet, aside from the symbolic significance of the decorations, there is an inherent beauty to this vessel that needs no interpretation or definition. - (PF.5622)


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