Cylinder vase

Late Classic Period
A.D. 650–800

Place of Manufacture: Guatemala, Nebaj area, Southern Highlands

Catalogue Raisonné

MS1118, Kerr 558


16.3 x 14.8 cm (6 7/16 x 5 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

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

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)





The scene depicts the presentation of a war captive and cloth tribute to a lord seated on a bench throne inside a palace-like building. The captive kneels in front of the enthroned lord, and is bound around his waist by a rope held by the figure standing behind him. A Primary Standard Sequence hieroglyphic text encircles the vase’s rim, a shortened version of which is repeated on the building’s pier. Hieroglyphic phrases within the scene name the lord, the captive, and one of the attendant warriors (the one who made the capture).

Success on the battlefield gave the victor control of territory and tribute in the form of raw materials and manufactured commodities. Here, a captured noble kneels before the enthroned conqueror. Finely woven cloth, the bounty of war, is piled on the throne and carried by attendants.


Primary Standard Sequence (two), short nominal texts in the scene.


Between about 1974 and 1978, 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 vessel was included in the exhibition "Lords of the Underworld: Masterpieces of Classic Maya Ceramics," The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1978, cat. no. 19. It 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