Pre-Columbian, Guatemala (Chama), Maya, Late Classic Period, ca. 700 to 900 CE. An interestingly-formed vessel with an apple-shaped lower bowl and a gently tapering, wide, cylindrical neck rising from it. The neck is as tall as the body. The exterior is painted with a multitude of black and white motifs and glyphs on a bright, earthy red background. The lower body is painted with two strips of white cross-hatching on either side of it, giving the impression of woven mat, believed to be a symbol of royalty. Four cacao bean-shaped motifs sit inside a wide, vertical border on either side of the cross-hatched areas. A series of three glyphs appear in vertical bars at ninety degrees from the cross-hatching. A double chevron border demarcates where the shoulder meets the neck. Above that are four vertical and diagonal bars of three glyphs each, each set ninety degrees from the next one. Another chevron motif border is painted just below the unpronounced rim. Size: 7" W x 9" H (17.8 cm x 22.9 cm)
Chama is a Late Classic Mayan highland site, possibly colonized from the lowlands around the beginning of the 8th century, that developed a distinctive, unique ceramic style - with a strong white, red, and black palette and glyphs and scenes not usually found on other Mayan vases. They are found in the tombs and palaces of Mayan elites. The glyphs are usually names, dates, or very short phrases, but are poorly understood because the Highland artisans seem to have taken some artistic liberties when creating them. Researchers have estimated that only two or three generations of potters created all of the vessels attributed to Chama - making this quite a rare find!
Provenance: ex-Pierre Kahn Family collection, Guatemala and Miami, Florida, USA, since the 1950s
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