Pre-Columbian, Highlands (Chiapas, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), Maya Late Classic Period, ca. 600 CE. A large orangeware plate with rounded tripod legs. The interior center of the bowl depicts a standing priest, posed dynamically as if dancing, with a well-drawn face and head in the classic Maya style and huge feathered bracelets and clothing. Feathers were reserved for the highest ranking members of society. Around the interior is a band of glyphs that covers approximately a third of the rim; the other two thirds are painted a darker orange and unadorned, which is also an unusual and rare choice - Mayan art is often symmetrical. The exterior below the rim is unpainted. Size: 13.45" W x 3.25" H (34.2 cm x 8.3 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 this a much rarer find than a piece of domestic pottery. Instead, a bowl like this was placed into a tomb as an offering.
Provenance: private Chicago, Illinois, USA collection
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