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Carved Vessel


Maya, Late Classic
700-800 CE
13.97 cm x 14.92 cm (5 1/2 in. x 5 7/8 in.)
ceramic
PC.B.530

On view


Permalink: http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/22746

Description
This bowl feature a seated deity framed by watery volutes. The male figure has a square, raptor-eye with brilliant, almost polished qualities; fish barbels; Spondylus or thorny oyster as an ear covering; and sharklike teeth. The swirls around the figure occur in two levels: a background of parallel swirls and a dominant design of elaborate volutes that combines attributes of water (the dots) with the triple beads linked to foliage. Flourishes at the end of the volutes evoke smoke in an exuberant, almost chaotic effusion. Bowls in a similar style suggest that the flow emanates from the figures themselves. Here, the volutes issue from the mouth of the figure and churn around the body.
Glyphs appear in an angled band, an arrangement that facilitates reading by others when the bowl is tilted for drinking. The text has no evident connection to the subject of the image. Instead, it denotes the possessor of the “thin-walled cup” (jaay), or the bowl itself. As with many Classic vessels the owner was a male “youth” (ch’ok), and he came from the city of Dzibilchaltun, fourteen kilometers north of downtown Mérida, Yucatan, or perhaps from the ruin, now largely destroyed, under the modern city itself. The name of the youth is not easily interpreted, nor is his title, which is also employed in texts at Dzibilchaltun. It is possible that the bowl simply commemorated his youthful status as part of age-grade rituals attested elsewhere in Maya texts and imagery.
To achieve the decoration, the dark-brown, burnished surface exterior was a carefully chiseled and incised. Cinnabar application draws attention to the glyphs and to areas of deeper relief.


Bibliography
Benson, Elizabeth P. 1963 Handbook of the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 17, cat. 84.

Benson, Elizabeth P. 1967 The Maya World. Crowell, New York. p. 112.

Benson, Elizabeth P. 1977 The Maya World. Revised ed. Crowell, New York.

Coe, Michael D. 1975 Classic Maya Pottery at Dumbarton Oaks. Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, D.C., p. 15, cat. 5, pl. 5.

Coe, Michael D. 1984 The Maya. 3rd ed. Ancient Peoples and Places. Thames and Hudson, New York. p. 115-116, fig. 93.

Coe, Michael D. 1987 The Maya. 4th ed. Ancient Peoples and Places. Thames and Hudson, New York. p. 123-124, fig. 94.

Coe, Michael D. 1993 The Maya. 5th ed. Ancient Peoples and Places. Thames and Hudson, New York. p. 123, 126, fig. 90.

Grana-Behrens, Daniel 2006 Emblem Glyphs and Political Organization in Northwestern Yucatan in the Classic Period (A.D. 300-1000). Ancient Mesoamerica 17 (1):105-124. fig. 2c.

Grube, Nikolai 1990 Primary Standard Sequence in Chochola Style Ceramics. In The Maya Vase Book, Justin Kerr, ed., pp. 320-330. vol. 2. Kerr Associates, New York. p. 322, fig. 2.

Kerr, Justin n.d. Maya Vase Data Base: An Archive of Rollout Photographs., URL: <http://www.mayavase.com/>. cat. K4333.

Maldonado, C. Ruben, Alexander Voss and Angel Góngora 2002 Kalom Uk'uw, Señor De Dzibilchaltun In La Organización Social Entre Los Mayas Prehispánicos, Coloniales Y Modernos, Vera Tiesler Blos, Rafael Cobos and Merle Greene Robertson, eds., pp. 79-100. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico. fig. 12.

Miller, Mary Ellen, Simon Martin and Kathleen Berrin 2004 Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya. Thames & Hudson, New York. p. 146, pl. 76.

Pillsbury, Joanne, Miriam Doutriaux, Reiko Ishihara-Brito and Alexandre Tokovinine (EDS.) 2012 Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks. Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, Number 4. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., p. 394-397, pl. 75, fig. 216, 217a.

Schmidt, Peter J., Mercedes de la Garza and Enrique Nalda 1998 The Maya. Rizzoli, New York. p. 616.

Schmidt, Peter J., Mercedes de la Garza and Enrique Nalda 1999 Los Mayas. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; CONACULTA; INAH, México, D.F., p. 616.

Tate, Carolyn E. 1985 Carved Ceramics Called Chochola In Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983, Virginia M. Fields, ed., pp. 123-133. Palenque Round Table (5 Session, 1983). Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. p. 127.

Werness, Maline 2010 Chocholá Ceramics and the Polities of Northwestern Yucatán. Ph.D. doctoral dissertation, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas, Austin. p. 314, fig. 2.

Wood, Arthur 1970 A Carved Maya Jar. Calendar of the Art Institute of Chicago 64 (5):14-15. p. 14.


Related:

W., A. 1970 A Carved Maya Jar. Calendar of the Art Institute of Chicago 64 (5):14-15.




Exhibition History
"I Maya", Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy, 9/6/1998 - 5/16/1999.

"Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya", National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 4/4 - 7/25/2004; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, 9/4/2004 - 1/2/2005.


Acquisition History
Purchased from Aaron Furman, New York (dealer), by Mrs. Mildred Bliss, 1963.

Gift to Dumbarton Oaks by Mrs. Mildred Bliss, 1963.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.


Anthropomorphic | Mayas