Mexico or Guatemala; Maya
Ceramic; Diam. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)
Gift of Eugene and Ina Schnell, 1989 (1989.110)
One variety of Maya polychrome ceramic vessel is a plate or shallow bowl that is decorated with a central figure framed by a band of repeated motifs. This example features an elaborately costumed musician with a long wooden trumpet pressed to his lips. The many depictions of musicians and the survival of numerous types of musical instruments indicate that music played a role in Maya ceremony and celebration. Although the only clothing this figure wears is a short elaborate tunic with a goggle-eyed mask at the back of the waist, he is decorated by an abundance of feathers and body paint. The L-shaped glyph block incorporated above the figure's face is illegible. It may have served a symbolic or decorative purpose only.