Pre-Columbian, Mexico and Guatemala, Peten Basin, Maya Late Classic Period, ca. 550 to 950 CE. An elegant ritual ceramic vessel, cylinder shaped, with a tall, ribbed body, and a band of black-outlined glyphs against a deep red background just below the rim on the exterior. The mouth of the vessel folds outward slightly, forming a lip at the rim, which is painted black. The glyphs include the human-faced symbols for cacao and the cross-hatched symbol mat, meaning a mat house, or Popol Nah, places where councils of nobles met. Size: 4.95" W x 6.25" H (12.6 cm x 15.9 cm)
The Peten region was one of the most densely populated regions in the world during the Maya period, home to several million people and many powerful urban areas, each of which would have had their own Popol Nah for nobles to meet. This cylinder may have been used in one of them, belonging to an elite member of society, for the ritual drinking of chocolate.
Provenance: private California, USA collection
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Intact, with excellent root marks and light deposits on surface. Wear to pigment commensurate with age including some small scratches, chips, and areas of pitting. However the motifs are in very nice condition.