H. 21 1/4 in. (54 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mrs. Raymond Wielgus, 1963 (1978.412.99)
This hand-modeled flanged ceramic cylinder would have supported a bowl for the burning of incense for ritual purposes. A high-relief standing figure with a looped motif between his eyes, which is thought to relate to the Maya god of the sun, is depicted on the front. The figure is flanked by two smaller staff-bearing, animal-masked figures shown in profile. All three figures are positioned atop the carapace of a turtle out of the front of which emerges a human head, probably a representation of a Maya underworld deity. Turtle shells were regarded as metaphors for the earth, their openings viewed as analogous to those of caves. The combination of sun and underworld references suggests a cosmogram of the supernatural realm.