Tetrapod cylinder vessel

Early Classic Period
A.D. 350–550

Object Place: Mexico or Guatemala, northern Petén lowlands


12.6 cm (4 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: black slip paint and specular hematite pigment

Not On View





This cylindrical base for a lidded vessel is embellished with two incised profile saurian heads, one on each side of the vessel (for a total of two heads). The four cylindrical supports are hollow and each contains a ceramic pellet that rattles when the vessel is moved (one of the visible “pellets” seems to be the disk that was cut out of the support on its inside face). Four coffee bean-shaped nubbins are attached to the bottom edge of the vessel, placed equadistant between the tetrapod supports. Red pigment is found in the incised lines on the vessel’s exterior, and the remains of the same specular hematite red pigment are found on its unslipped bottom and inside the vessel. See 1972.1172a for the lid of this vessel. Also see 1972.1171a and b for a very similar vessel.


By June, 1972, Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York; September 13, 1972, sold by Jax to Landon T. Clay, Boston; 1972, gift of Landon Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 13, 1972)

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay