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Pre-Columbian Maya Poison Bottle

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All Items: Archives: Regional Art: Pre AD 1000: item # 1165410


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Pre-Columbian Maya Poison Bottle
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Circa 600 A.D. – 900 A.D. This small Maya bottle measures approximately 2 ½” tall by about 2 ½” wide and represents a form commonly referred to as a “poison” bottle. Vessels of this type are known to have been used by the ancient Maya for storing Cinnabar (Mercury Sulfide), a substance that was highly prized and symbolically important to the ancient Maya. Cinnabar was used for ritual, ceremonial and decorative purposes due to its vibrant red color. This example is formed as a narrow, almost flat, bottle, with decorative side features and a flanged lip at the top opening. There are faint remnants of Cinnabar encrusted here and there near the rim.

Condition: Intact with no restoration and no repair. Only very minor abrasions, weathering and wear, with mineral and sediment deposits and staining inside and out.

Provenance: Former Arizona, USA private collection.


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