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Mayan Babilonia Painted and Engraved Cylindrical Vessel - PF.6085
Origin: Honduras
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 9.75" (24.8cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Babilonia
Medium: Terracotta

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. The most prominent feature of this work is the two projecting avian heads that emerge from the upper sides as if handles. In between these two heads is a band of engraved interweaving mat pattern motifs. The majority of the body is dedicated to three repeating representations of a fully costumed standing figure, presumably a king or shaman. He wears a fanciful feathered headdress, a beaded necklace (possibly made of jade), various bracelets, and numerous decorative loincloths that fall to his sides. The space in between these rectangular scenes framed in a black line is painted red and elaborated with a ribbed texture, as if the sculpture ran the tips of his fingers along the sides of the vessel while the clay was still wet. This masterpiece 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.6085)


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