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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Archive : Mayan Polychrome Bowl
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Mayan Polychrome Bowl - PF.2435
Origin: Guatemala
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3.5" (8.9cm) high
Catalogue: V8
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: United States
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Ancient Mayan art was composed of a complex symbolic language with extremely important social functions. Mainly commissioned by kings and other high elite, works of Mayan art fulfilled both political and social purposes. Because the art functioned as a type of language, to be understood by the entire population, a certain consistency in subject matter and its portrayal was necessary. While this limited the Mayan artist's individual creativity to some degree, where he could distinguish himself was in the refinement of execution, as revealed in this impressive polychrome bowl. Here we see the interior surface artistically rendered to incorporate the imagery with the form of the bowl. The bottom portion features the lively depiction of a Mayan lord, complete with dramatic headdress and fancy costume. With mouth open and right hand gesturing in front of him, he appears to be addressing someone. His expressive image is flanked by Mayan glyphs, while at the same time a black and red painted pattern both frames his image and forms a border for the bottom of the bowl. The interior sides are artfully decorated with the alternating image of a monkey and two vertical red bands, the monkeys imaginatively portrayed in a seated position atop the band that frames the standing lord. With erect tales curling upward and arms held out at their sides, the monkeys are illustrated in an animated and exuberant pose, adding to the overall sense of spirited energy that this work of art evinces. Clearly, this painted ceramic bowl displays the multifaceted talents of the ancient Mayan artists, their skills unsurpassed at rendering ceramic masterpieces of sophisticated design and composition. HT. 8.8cm(3 1/2) : DIAM. 31.2cm(12 1/4IN) - (PF.2435)


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