Cylinder vase

Late Classic Period
A.D. 650–800

Object Place: Department of El Petén, Guatemala

Catalogue Raisonné



Overall (H x D): 19.1 x 9.2 cm (7 1/2 x 3 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware with red, orange, gray (perhaps originally green)and black on cream slip paint

Not On View





The wrap-around scene on this vase depicts the presentation of gifts or tribute to a seated lord. The scene has supernatural connotations given that God N (identified by the turtle shell on his back), one of the lords of the Underworld, is present among the seated participants. The enthroned lord looks towards the six presenters, a large cylinder vessel in front of the throne perhaps containing a kakaw (chocolate-based) or fermented beverage. Six seated figures face the lord, each presenting a different gift or tribute item, including a small sculpture portraying a seated figure that may be the Maize god, a vulture head that may be a full head mask, a decorated olla (a liquid-carrying jar), a bowl containing frothy kakaw or atole (a maize-based gruel), and what appears to be a divination mirror.

The hieroglyphic text around the rim is a Primary Standard Sequence text that refers to the vessel and its contents. The shorter texts painted within the scene refer to the enthroned lord and the pictured event.


September 25, 1979, sold by Alphonse Jax (dealer), New York, to Landon T. Clay, Boston [see note]; 2004, year-end gift of Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

NOTE: The vase was studied as part of the Maya Ceramics Project (Smithsonian Institution) in the 1970s.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay