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Mayan Cylindrical Vessel - PF.5547
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 8.5" (21.6cm) high x 6.75" (17.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Mayan
Medium: Terracotta

This painted vessel depicts the meeting of two Mayan kings. A band of glyphs decorates the upper lip of the vessel and the lower base. These friezes both explain the action of the main scene and frame it. If translated, it would doubtlessly describe the exact story illustrated on the vessel and the name of the kings. The two royal figures face each other, extending their hands forward. They twist their fingers as if about to partake in a secret handshake confirming their rank. Their regal plumed headdresses protrude outward, echoing the movement of their hands. The king on the left is seated on a throne, yet appears to greet the other as an equal. On the other side of the vessel, a solitary king is depicted enthroned. The crosshatched pattern of his headdress recalls the headdress of the standing figure before. Most likely, this vessel portrays the succession of one ruler to the next. The new king is shown greeting the former ruler and then rightfully claiming his throne. Thus, this vessel not only functioned as a container, but also as a piece of royal propaganda. - (PF.5547)


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