Cylindrical Vessel

Date: 1st–2nd century

Geography: Guatemala, Mesoamerica

Culture: Maya

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.207.7


The simple elegance of this vessel belies the complex skills needed to achieve the delicate "fire-clouding" that adorns the base. The contrasting red and black fields evoke nothing so much as the fires from which the vessel emerged, a smooth flame rising from coarse coals. The incised lines around the circumference mark different zones, which in later times become fields for pictorial and hieroglyphic information. The overall sophistication of the vessel indicates probable use in royal rituals, but the unusual tapered, cylindrical shape says little about its precise function.