Cache vessel lid

Early Classic Period
A.D. 400–550

Object Place: Department of El Petén, Guatemala


16.8 x 21.6 cm (6 5/8 x 8 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: red slip paint and traces of post-fire white pigment or stucco

Not On View





The front of this cache vessel lid is decorated with the face of a supernatural with scroll eyes and a sting ray spine as a front tooth, both of which are attributes of the deity GI. He wears a zoomorphic headdress, and two large flanges at the side of his face are modeled with his earflare assemblage and other adornments. His face is encircled by small spherical elements that may represent jadeite beads. The back side of the vessel, its rim, and the upper half of the inner surface are painted with red slip. White encrustations adhere to one half of the inside surface of the lid.

A Maya ruler and a deity (or deity impersonator) hold human hearts, implying their duty to provide life-giving blood to ensure cosmic and earthly life.


Between about 1974 and 1981, probably purchased in Guatemala by John B. Fulling (b. 1924 – d. 2005), The Art Collectors of November, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL; May 20, 1987, sold by John B. Fulling to Landon T. Clay, Boston; 1988, year-end gift of Landon Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1989)

NOTE: This is one in a group of Maya artifacts (MFA accession nos. 1988.1169 – 1988.1299) known as the “November Collection” after John Fulling’s company, the Art Collectors of November, Inc. John Fulling sold this group of objects to MFA donor Landon Clay in 1987, and they were given to the Museum the following year.
Evidence suggests that John Fulling built the November Collection from sources in Guatemala between 1974 and 1981. Only a portion of what he acquired during this time came to the MFA in 1988. It is not possible to determine precisely which objects were acquired when or from whom.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay