Incense burner top

Early Classic Period
A.D. 400–550

Object Place: Departament of Tiquisate, Guatemala, Pacific Coast piedmont

Catalogue Raisonné

MS1094 (base sampled)


46 x 36 x 20.5 cm (18 1/8 x 14 3/16 x 8 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: red, yellow, black and white paint

Not On View





Human effigy top of a two-part incense burner rendered in Tiquisate-Teotihuacan style. The top is modeled in the form of a human figure’s upper torso, head and elaborate headdress. The figure wears a double strand of round beads, large, circular earflares and a butterfly-shaped nose ornament. On his chest may be an obsidian divination mirror. The headdress includes three feathered mirrors, ten circular jewels, and four red-painted rectangular flaps. Atop the headdress is a butterfly-Tlaloc icon, and a panoply of long feathers adorns the icon as well as the back of the headdress. Some in-painting in modern times, although the restoration seems to follow the original painting.


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