Shell paint container

Late Classic Period
550–850 AD

Object Place: Guatemala, Mexico, or Belize


Length: 20.3 cm (8 in.) Mount: 10.2 × 15.2 × 7.6 cm (4 × 6 × 3 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Carved conch shell

Not On View




By about 1967, Paul Tishman (b. 1900 – d. 1996), New York [see note 1]; January 30, 1980, sold by Paul Tishman to the Josefowitz collection, London and Lausanne [see note 2]; May 15, 2017, anonymous (Josefowitz collection) sale, Sotheby’s, New York (sale NO9619), lot 71, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 21, 2017)

[1] According to a statement provided at the time the object was sold in 1980, it had been in the Tishman collection since before 1967. It was lent by Mr. and Mrs. Tishman to the exhibition “Before Cortes: Sculpture of Middle America,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 30, 1970 - January 3, 1971, cat. no. 199. [2] Lent from the Josefowitz collection to the exhibition “Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period,” Duke University Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Yale University Art Gallery, 1994-1995, cat. no. 9.

Credit Line

Elizabeth M. and John F. Paramino Fund in memory of John F. Paramino, Boston Sculptor, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, Helen and Alice Colburn Fund, William Francis Warden Fund, Seth K. Sweetser Fund, Helen B. Sweeney Fund, and Harriet Otis Cruft Fund