Tripod plate

Late Classic Period
A.D. 600–750

Object Place: El Petén, Guatemala, Tikal area


10.1 x 30.9 cm (4 x 12 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: red and black on cream-orange slip paint

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)





Tripod plate painted with the image of a male dancer in the guise of the Maize god. A band of hieroglyphic signs for ‘sun’ or ‘day’ (k’in, in Yukatek Mayan) encircle him. One-half of the plate’s interior wall is decorated with two panels, each containing floral motifs and a hieroglyphic sign or icon composed of the glyph for ‘great’ (chak) and a head variant glyph that is alternately interpreted as the name of the Maize god or the title glyph for ‘lord’ (ajaw). The exterior of the plate is painted with a dull orange wash, and its basal flange is cut into a crenelated or fret form. The three, tall, hollow supports contain small clay balls that rattle when the plate is moved.

Tikal feasting pottery portrays the Maize god’s dance of resurrection. The painting style is distinguished by the use of many colors and blank pictorial space surrounding the image of the deity.


About 1971-1973, purchased in Guatemala by John B. Fulling (b. 1924 – d. 2005), Lighthouse Point, Florida; 1987, year-end gift of John B. Fulling to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 20, 1988)

Credit Line

Gift of John B. Fulling