Pre-Columbian, Honduras, Mayan Ulua Valley, ca. 550 to 850 CE. A wonderfully preserved polychrome cylinder vessel with two nub-like handles in the form of bird heads. Around the heads, painted down the body of the vessel, are the birds' bodies. They are turkeys, some of the most important birds in the Mayan world. Between the two birds are labyrinth-like glyphoids or pseudo-glyphs; further glyphoids are around the base, which is slightly inset from the upper body of the vessel, forming an interesting flanged shape that is rare in Mesoamerican cylinders. Size: 7.7" W x 5.55" H (19.6 cm x 14.1 cm)
The Ulua Valley, centered around the large city of Cerro Palenque, is a mystery for archaeologists - unlike the Maya, they left no written records (the glyphoid designs on this vessel do not form words), and their connection to the Classic Maya is unclear. It seems to have been a point of trade and transport - a connecting link - between the Maya world further north and Central America. The pottery from the Ulua Valley is part of a very unique tradition different even from those found at nearby Copan.
Provenance: ex-private Florida, USA collection, acquired from Artemis Gallery in 2008, and acquired at auction previously
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