Pre-Columbian, Soconusco Pacific Slope (Southern Mexico / Guatemala), Maya / Toltec, ca. 900 to 1000 CE. A lovely plumbate vessel of bulbous form with a cylindrical base, thin walls that spread outward to a sphere, and a wide cylindrical neck culminating in a slightly flared rim. This playful jar features a protruding human head, gazing outward from heavy-lidded eyes under an arched brow flanked by sizable gauged ears. The handsome visage's thick lips grin through gritted teeth above a petite beard adorning his chin, reminiscent of a satyr. The ornament atop his head could be an eccentric hairstyle, a headpiece, or feathers, indicating that he may be Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent deity found in many Mesoamerican religions. The body of the jar is intricately incised with dashed and curving lines, which circle the head creating a collar and extend to portray sleeves, possibly wings, and arms leading to protruding hands near the base. Size: 6" W x 6.625" H (15.2 cm x 16.8 cm)
Verdant green pigment adorns the backside of the jar, a beautiful contrast to the rich terracotta-colored base and a clue that this vessel was once painted in multiple colors. Plumbate pottery is distinguishable by its characteristically lustrous glaze that was fired at very high temperatures. A gorgeous and unique Mayan rattle jar. Size: 6" Diameter x 6.625" H (15.2 cm x 16.8 cm)
An example nearly identical to this one, but featuring less detail on its arms, was published in "Art of the Maya" by Ferdinand Anton (G.P. Putnam's Son's, New York: 1970, Plate 76 and Page 322) and is cited to be found at the University Museum, Philadelphia.
Provenance: private California, USA Collection, purchased in the 1990s; ex-Arte Primitivo Gallery, New York, New York, USA
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Professionally repaired and restored throughout with overpainting along new material and break lines. Abrasions and a few stable hairline fissures, with light encrustations within some recessed areas. Number inscribed on bottom is consistent with those of the Denver Art Museum. Beautiful remaining details throughout with rattle still in head.