Tripod cylinder vase

Late Classic Period
A.D. 650–780

Object Place: Motul de San José area, Department of El Petén, Guatemala

Catalogue Raisonné



Overall: 17.1 x 11.9 cm (6 3/4 x 4 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware with red, orange, black and rose on white slip decoration

Not On View





On this vase Yajawte’ K’inich, the k’uhul ajaw (divine ruler) of the Ik’ polity, undergoes a vision-quest rite, perhaps on the date 7 Ok 13 Xul ( in the Maya Long Count calendar or 25 May A.D. 749). Here, he wears a fantastic jaguar-crustacean outfit and stares into a divination mirror held by an attendant. This important ritual may have been part of the accession to kingship.

This vase features a ritual blood sacrifice and a vision-quest dance performance by Yajawte’ K’inich, ruler of the Ik’ polity. The performers’ fantastic garb may portray their spirit companions. The text on the tall vase records the performance’s date on 7 Ok 13 Xul (May 25, 749) and states that Yajawte’ K’inich danced as his “jaguar throne,” the name of his spirit companion. His two associates wear equally fanciful costumes portraying a jaguar/centipede and a jaguar/eagle.


By the late 1970s, Lavinia and Landon T. Clay, New Hampshire; 2003, year-end gift of Lavinia and Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 21, 2004)

Credit Line

Gift of Lavinia and Landon T. Clay