Pre-Columbian, Late Classic Maya, ca. 550 to 850 CE. This is a large example of a cylinder vessel in the Maya codex style, made from heavy grained terracotta pottery and slipped with red/orange, black, and cream. Around the rim is a design of glyphs; the rest of the body has a larger design, duplicated on each side. Some of the most distinctive vessels from the Maya period are these Codex-style ones, which are associated with the Mirador Basin in northern Guatemala and which were probably given as gifts during feasts and used for drinking things like cocoa. The glyphs, which are similar to those found in known Mayan writing collected by the Spaniards, are outlined with a black-brown slip and applied on a light cream background, with red bands delineating the "page" to be read. Although we know little about the artisans who made these items, we do know that they are often associated with tombs (with many found smashed outside the entrances of tombs, as if grave robbers had discarded broken examples). Prominent Mayanist Michael Coe has connected the scenes depicted upon these vessels with the sixteenth century Maya written epic, the Popol Vuh, which describes Maya religion and mythology. Size: 3.75" W x 8.25" H (9.5 cm x 21 cm)
Provenance: Ex-private Scollard collection, acquired before 1990
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