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Scarce Vibrant Mayan Cylinder Vessel with Vulture Heads

Scarce Vibrant Mayan Cylinder Vessel with Vulture Heads


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1262510
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 $4,265.00 
$4,265.00

This interesting piece is a Mayan cylinder vessel that dates circa 600-900 A.D. This piece is approximately 9 inches high by 5.8 inches in diameter, and measures 8.75 inches, from the tip of the vulture head to the other tip of the vulture head seen on the opposite side of the vessel. This attractive piece has nice root marking, and some minute black spotty mineral deposits seen on all of the surfaces of the vessel. This piece is also a scarce type with the two extended vulture heads which are seen on opposite sides of the vessel, and the more common vessel of this type, has extended monkey heads. (See attached photo for the monkey head type. This piece is seen in the Museum of Anthropology and History, San Pedro Sula, Honduras and is published in "I Maya di Copan", Skira Pub., Milan, Italy, 1997, page 139, no. 34.) This vessel offered here is intact, and has some very minor stress crack fill which is very difficult to see. This piece has vibrant dark red, black, cream, and orange colors that are seen on the entire outer surface of the piece. The prominent feature of this piece are the two red-headed vulture heads that are seen emerging from each side of the vessel, and their wings and body are stylistically represented below each head on each side of the vessel. These emerging vulture heads are each a vibrant dark red color, which matches the color of this living bird, and these emerging heads also act as handles for this vessel, but this is likely not the primary function of these heads. It's more likely that the Mayan artist wished to emphasize the importance of the vulture in Mayan myth, and created a three-D image of the creature that seems to emerge from the vessel and appears to be alive. There are also two bands that run around the piece, and are seen at the top and bottom section of the vessel. The top band has two boxes, one placed between each vulture head, and within each box is what appears to be another stylized vulture bust showing a section of the wings and head. The bottom band has a red geometric box seen below each stylized vulture body on each side, and there is an identical stylized vulture bust placed between each geometric box. There is also a red line, seen on each side, that acts as dividing line for each side showing the emerging vulture head and painted stylized body. The vulture for the Maya was observed as a death eater. As a consumer of death, the Maya also felt that the vulture could convert death to life, and the vulture was viewed as a symbol of cleansing, renewal, and transformation. As a symbol of renewed life, this type of vessel was likely a Mayan offering vessel that contained a grave good for the afterlife. Ex: William Freeman estate, New Mexico, circa 1960's-1980's. Ex: Private AZ. collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: