Toltec Plumbate Vessel with a Sculpted Head - PF.1032
Origin: Soconusco, Guatemala
Circa: 1000 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 7.125" (18.1cm) high x 5.25" (13.3cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Style: Toltec
Medium: Plumbate


This beautiful vessel with a sculpted head was a very important type of commercial ware for the Toltec civilization. It was produced at only one place, on the Pacific slope of the ancient region known as Soconusco, and the process by which it was made seems to have been a secret. Such sculptural vessels were called plumbate ware, and were highly valued. Plumbate ware vessels were traded to far regions of Mesoamerica. Although this plumbate vessel has a beautiful vitrified surface that has been enhanced with incision lines, it maintains an exceptional hardness that can be scarcely scratched with steel. Thus, this sturdy plumbate vessel retained its beautiful dark color and incised enhancements. The varied effigy vessels from the Toltec consist of gods, men, and animals. This specific head perhaps represents Tlaloc, the rain god. Although the sculpture resembles a human head, one cannot overlook the representational features of the rain god--deeply incised circular eyes and a fringe beard. Representing the powerful god, Tlaloc, this plumbate head holds a great value as it did during the Toltec era. Having been made exclusively in one region during a brief period of time, with a secretive method, this plumbate vessel is a valuable rarity from Mesoamerican history. - (PF.1032)



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