Cylindrical Vessel

Date: 1st century B.C.–A.D. 1st century

Geography: Guatemala, Mesoamerica

Culture: Maya

Medium: Ceramic, slip

Dimensions: Height 10 in. (25.4 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.207.6


The clean lines and spare ornament of this Maya ceramic vessel illustrate the early stages of an art form for which the ancient Maya have become renowned. The refined simplicity of style and noble presentation of form in this early Maya cylinder suggests ownership by a person of rank; however, the object's good condition refutes any suggestion of use in daily life. The fine proportions, with a flat base, tall, slender sides, and slightly flared mouth, are accentuated by the simple incised vertical lines and the horizontal band that tops them. This elegant vessel predates the painted cylinders with narrative scenes for which the Maya are well known, but its tall shape resonates in later work.