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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Bowls, Plates and Vessels : Mayan Polychrome Plate with a Spiral Pattern
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Mayan Polychrome Plate with a Spiral Pattern - PF.5752
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 300 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 3.25" (8.3cm) high x 12.25" (31.1cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: Great Britain
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What appears to our eyes to be a simple plate, was instead infused with a much greater purpose. Our modern minds have become rational and scientific, thus certain aspects of earlier, “primitive” cultures might seem bizarre and baffling, or even blasphemous. Throughout the ages there have been countless descriptions of the meaning of life and the workings of the world. Each reality is the truth to those who live according to its rules and laws. Thus, in order to fully comprehend the potent energy of Pre- Columbian art, it is necessary to abandon our daily reality, to forget our lives, and to travel back within ourselves to another world we left behind long ago. Gazing upon this plate is entering a lost realm of the spiritual, a part of our lives that remains as mysterious today as it ever was. Not science, not philosophy, not reason nor logic can answer the most haunting questions we ask ourselves alone at night. However, to the Mayans, this plate was an answer. Originally, this polychrome piece of pottery would have been placed above the skull of the deceased. The hole in the center was an access route for the encapsulated spirit to rise out of and travel towards the heavens. The central portion of the work is covered in a decorative spiral pattern. This same pattern can be seen throughout the art of the Americas as a symbol for the sun and its radiant warmth. This plate seems to be so simple to us, we seem to think we understand it, and yet the word we use, “plate,” describes little except for the form. The true meaning of this plate, like the meaning of life, is beyond our comprehension. - (PF.5752)


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