Human effigy incense burner top

Early Classic Period
A.D. 350–550

Object Place: Department of El Petén, Guatemala, Tikal area


54.61 cm (21 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: black, red, orange, and white slip paint

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)





A seated male figure, likely a Maya ruler, wears a zoomorphic headdress surmounted by a cartouche in which originally was painted his name (now eroded). He wears a large pectoral depicting a human face, which may represent the Maize god, and holds a human heart in his hands. Suspended from his nose is a crossed-bands and triangle icon. His body is painted black (now mostly eroded). See 1988.1226a and 1988.1228a for nearly identical objects.


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