Cylinder vase

Late Classic Period
A.D. 600–800

Object Place: El Petén, Guatemala, Lake Petén-Itzá area

Catalogue Raisonné

MS1117; Kerr 1485


25 x 11.5 cm (9 13/16 x 4 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: orange, red, dark pink, and black on cream slip paint

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)





The scene features a gathering of the deity Its’amnaj and other aged supernaturals who hand women from an upper world to a lower realm, the two locales separated by a horizontal band of celestial signs indicating the supernatural and perhaps primordial nature of this event. The hieroglyphic texts include the Dedicatory Phrase (formerly called the Primary Standard Sequence), and shorter texts next to some of the figures provide their names or titles. Those of the vase’s painter are found at the end of the Dedicatory Phrase and again in the T-shaped text behind Itz’amnaj.

The hieroglyphic text on this vase reads: “u-ts’ib” (his/her painting); “ni-Ik?” (name); “its’at” (artist).


Primary Standard Sequence, nominal texts within the scene.


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