Donated By: Donick Cary, Emmy-Award winning writer/producer (Letterman /Simpsons / Parks and Recreation /Silicon Valley)
Pre-Columbian, southern Mexico and northern Central America, Mayan Territories, Late Classic, ca. 550 to 900 CE. A classic example of a rattle-legged tripod plate from the Mayan period, with a band of glyphs around the flared rim and a lordly figure - possibly a scribe - depicted in tondo. The plate stands on tall, open legs with small clay balls inside of each to create a rattling sound. The seated figure has a headdress of very long, grey and orange feathers, and sits with his legs crossed, one foot up on his knee, leaning on one arm and reaching forward with the other as if to paint the sides of the bowl. Beside/underneath him is a basket containing what looks like eggs but could be any number of objects. The figure is painted with red, black, orange, and the rarer grey pigment. Scribes played a vital role in the Mayan world, and they were minor royalty, with the ability to read and write. They had the power to immortalize a king or queen through their writing, documenting battles, religious favor, and political skill. Size: 12.55" W x 3.75" H (31.9 cm x 9.5 cm)
The Maya Classic phase is so named because it was the peak of their artistic and cultural achievements. Part of this, as in many societies, included highly specialized consumable goods. Elaborate plates like this one were designed to be instantly distinguishable from those used for everyday eating or drinking - not just in decoration, but also in quantity produced, making these a much rarer find than a piece of domestic pottery. Instead, a bowl like this one would be ritually "sacrificed" by having a hole put through its center; it would then be placed into a tomb as an offering.
Provenance: private D. C. collection, California, USA; D. C. is an Emmy Award winning Hollywood writer and Executive Producer, collected before 2000
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