Pre-Columbian, Maya Territories, Late Classic, ca. 6th to 9th century CE. One of my favorites! Beautifully preserved, this is a large molded and carved pottery cylinder from the Maya world with intricate iconography, a flat base, and a slightly flared mouth. Overall the cylinder has a rich brown/orange color, with a white powdery pigment in the lower profile areas that makes the carved surface pop out for the viewer. Just below the rim and above the base are relief glyphs of the seed of the cacao plant. In center is a repeated carved image of the plumed serpent, the god Kukulkan, the "Plumed Serpent" or "Feathered Serpent", the snake deity who has many parallels in other Mesoamerican cultures. The cult of Kukulkan was centered on the city of Chichen Itza. The name of Kukulkan also came to be the name of a ruler or priest who lived at that city around the 10th century CE. Size: 5.8" W x 7.4" H (14.7 cm x 18.8 cm)
These glyphs would have had significant meaning to their Maya viewers. When roasted and ground, cacao beans were mixed into frothy drinks with vanilla, water, chilies, and other seasonings that all Maya people, both elite and common, enjoyed. Residue analysis of vessels like this one has revealed that they were used for consuming the hot chocolate-like drink.
Provenance: private California, USA collection
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