Pre-Columbian, Southern Mexico to Guatemala, Maya, Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 850 CE. A hand-built pottery jar of an elegant form with a flat base, a carinated lower body with a tapered upper body, and a thin rim surrounding a deep interior cavity. The highly burnished exterior features a pale-orange ground that displays a wondrous scene of three seated dignitaries with crossed arms and legs, each wearing a red-and-white belt and headband. A column of black-painted pseudo-glyphs is enclosed within a thick red stripe, and a solid red ring creates the lowest decorative element. A fine example of high-quality Maya artistry! Size: 4.875" W x 5.4" H (12.4 cm x 13.7 cm)
For the Maya, extraordinary ceramic jars like this example were gifted to elite individuals, akin to the gifts exchanged between high profile dignitaries today. Jars and other similar utilitarian vessels were a functional gift, created by artist/scribes who came from elite families and who took pains to recreate the stories of Mayan mythology and religion as well as to depict royal and godly personages in their artwork. This artwork reinforced the ruling ideology and reminded the viewer of what was valuable in Mayan society.
Provenance: ex-Howard Rose Gallery, New York, New York, USA; ex-Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas, USA; ex-private West Coast, USA collection, acquired in the 1960s to 1990s
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