Mayan Polychrome Cylinder Vessel - PF.2665
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 6.25" (15.9cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Catalogue: V13
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Mayan
Medium: Terracotta


Much of Mayan art was dedicated to the glorification of their great kings, priests, and gods and to their remarkable concepts of time. Although portions of the specific iconographic meanings are still somewhat ambiguous in Mayan art, much is known today about the artistic techniques of this masterful craftsman. This extraordinary polychrome cylinder vessel reveals the characteristic pictorial methods used by the artists. Brushes, much like those of the Chinese, were used for the line work in painting as well as writing. In fact, the stunning calligraphic line work on this Mayan vessel clearly rivals that of the Chinese as a model of the world's greatest calligraphic traditions. The Mayan artists' acute sensitivity to the boundaries of the pictorial field is also affirmed in this vessel, for the central, painted composition is suitably framed by a striped and glyphic band not only performs a stylistic function but also, through the glyphic language, becomes a harbinger of information. When coupled with the other glyphs and figures on the vessel, the vase becomes a communicator to the Ancient Maya. Although the specific iconographic meaning may be unclear today, the communicative power on an artistic level is still very compelling. Clearly, the artworks of the Maya stand as a testament to a culture whose aesthetic sensibilities are ageless in their ability to transmit spirited messages to all who are fortunate enough to encounter them. - (PF.2665)



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