Plate with Trumpeter

Date: 8th century

Geography: Guatemala or Mexico, Mesoamerica

Culture: Maya

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H . 2 1/2 x Diam. 12 3/4 in. (6.4 x 32.4 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Gift of Eugene and Ina Schnell, 1989

Accession Number: 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.