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Mayan Brownware Ceremonial Carved Bowl with Rare Glyphs: Ex Sothebys

Mayan Brownware Ceremonial Carved Bowl with Rare Glyphs: Ex Sothebys


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: Pre Columbian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1331598
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 $4,675.00 
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This attractive brownware ceramic is a Mayan carved bowl that dates circa 550-950 A.D. This piece is approximately 9.75 inches in diameter, by 3.7 inches high. This powerful looking piece has a flat bottom with gently curved side walls, and this design made it very easy for catching liquids. This piece has detailed deep carving, within three rectangular panels, and this skilled carving is in the form of a head commonly known as a "Long-Lipped Monster", and was described as such in the Sotheby's reference noted below. This type of Mayan image is rare, although it is a known image relative to Mayan iconography. This rare image is designed in glyph form, and is comprised of a scroll eye, upturned snout, bared fangs, smoke scrolls curling at the back, and sections of crosshatched elements. Each of the three rectangular panels are also separated by two smooth petalled-shaped motifs, and the entire bowl thus has a floral-like appearance. The "Long-Lipped Monster" image depicted here may also represent what is known in Mayan iconography as a "Square-Nosed Serpent" image. According to Andrea Stone and Marc Zender in "Reading Maya Art, A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture", Thames and Hudson, London, 2011, p. 227: "This logograph combines ophidian and floral elements in the form of a band that makes several 90-degree turns, suggesting the upturned snout of a sinuous serpent. Eye and nose rest atop the band and beneath are several curly fangs and no lower jaw. This 'square' or 'fret-nosed serpent' is a prominent, albeit esoteric, feature of Maya art. It seems to embody a radiant life force, expelled through the mouth, nose, or center of a flower, and dispersed throughout the universe, much like mana in Polynesia." This logograph is also associated with Mayan ceremonial bloodletting, and it is also quite possible that the Mayan bowl offered here was a part of this ceremony, and this bowl is in essence, a Mayan ceremonial offering bowl. This vessel also has a light yellow/brown polychrome slip seen both over the inner and outer surfaces, and each of the three rectangular panels have traces of white stucco and red cinnabar that are seen down within the low relief areas of the deep carvings. The carvings seen within each of the three rectangular panels are nearly identical, and were each carved individually, such was the skill of the artist. In addition, the inner surface has a black band seen at the rim and a black circle applied to the inner flat base, and resembles a target for ceremonial bloodletting into the vessel. It's also interesting to note that the color red also contrasts with black, and is easily seen. There is also some attractive and extensive root marking and dark black/brown burnishing seen mostly on the inner surfaces, and there are also some spotty minute dark black mineral deposits which are normally seen on authentic vessels of this type. This piece is also 100% original, and was repaired from three large fragments. This limited repair also appears to have been done some time ago. The interior of the bowl is smooth, and also has a thin polychrome glaze on both the inner and outer surfaces. Overall, this piece is a fine example of a carved Mayan vessel, and the detailed and deep carving also gives this piece powerful eye appeal. Ex: Sotheby's Pre-Columbian Art, New York, May 1995, no. 170. ($2,500.00-$3,000.00 estimates.) Ex: Private CA. collection. I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: