Cylinder vase

Maya
Late Classic Period
A.D. 550–850


Object Place: Guatemala, Petén lowlands

Catalogue Raisonné

MS1087; Kerr 559

Dimensions

17 x 10.5 cm (6 11/16 x 4 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

1988.1282

Medium or Technique

Earthenware: dark red, red, black, orange, and white on yellow-orange slip paint

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Earthenware

The scene relates to the mythology of the moon goddess, here portrayed as young and old women that likely pertain to the phases of the moon, embodied by the rabbit. The elderly female seated on a bench-throne holds a rabbit on her lap, its extended arm touching the breast of a second female who kneels in front of the bench-throne. Behind her a third female figure squats in the Mesoamerican birthing position. She may be giving birth to the rabbit that sits in front of her, the birth process implied by the large red scroll behind the rabbit that seemingly emerges from the divination mirror below the rabbit and the red cord-like element connecting both figures. A non-Primary Standard Sequence hieroglyphic text encircles the top of the vase. Modern repainting is found throughout the imagery, especially the outlines of the figures and the hieroglyphs.

Provenance

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