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HOME : PRE COLUMBIAN ART : Pre-Columbian Art Collection/ HK : Babilonia Polychrome Cylindrical Tripod Vessel
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Babilonia Polychrome Cylindrical Tripod Vessel - PF.5625
Origin: Honduras
Circa: 600 AD to 750 AD
Dimensions: 6.5" (16.5cm) high
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Hong-Kong

Location: UAE
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Much like some believe ancient spirits continue to haunt the earth long after their death, sacred objects continue to retain their spiritual powers, accumulated through centuries of reverence, long after the civilization that created them fades into oblivion. This object is one such example. Babilonia polychrome is the distinctive painted, pictorial style of pottery made in northeastern Honduras. The people of this region created a culture that drew from indigenous traditions (specifically relating to the Lenca people who inhabit this region) combined with influences from their powerful Mayan neighbors as well as others. This vessel merges a Mayan style composition and painting technique with imagery representing the religious mythology and political ideologies of the Lenca. However, because very few Lenca survived contact with the Spaniard Conquistadors, little is known of their ancient beliefs and social structure. The feet of the tripod are decorated with a checkerboard pattern. The lip of the vessel is emphasized by a series of black and red painted strokes. The most unique feature of this masterpiece is the three large circular carved black medallions that adorn the sides of the body. These medallions surmount a rectangular “pedestal” decorated with a checkerboard pattern similar to the feet. This design may symbolize a banner set atop a small platform, a common architectural feature at archaeological sites throughout the southern region. The vessel is further decorated with three panels depicting a seated figure dressed in an ornate costume and headdress recalling those worn by the ruling elite throughout Mesoamerica. Above and below each panel is a glyph-like icon that might relate to depictions of saurian creatures that represent the earth or the sky, depending on the context. Overall, this vessel is a masterpiece of Mayan pottery. The artist seamlessly merged painting and carving together into one. There is a tremendous balance and harmony between the forms and colors of the composition. Found in a tomb, this vessel was as important in the afterlife as it was in this world. - (PF.5625)


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