Tribute presentation scene

Late Classic Period
dated October 7, 691

Object Place: Lake Yaxhá-Tikal area, Department of El Petén, Guatemala

Catalogue Raisonné

MS0071; Kerr 5453


Overall (H x D): 21.3 x 11.7 cm (8 3/8 x 4 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware with red, orange, brown, and black on cream slip

On View

Ancient Central America Gallery (Gallery LG32)





This vase records, both pictorially and in hieroglyphic texts, the presentation of tribute or a diplomatic gift by K’ak’ Hiix, an emissary of Yich’aak K’ak’ the ruler of Calakmul (located in Campeche, Mexico) to Ch’ok Wayis. The identity of this regal person has been in question, but this vase helps to confirm that the nominal is likely be an alternative name of the Tikal ruler Hasaw Chan K’awiil. The rendered event took place at the site of Topoxte’, an island center in Lake Petén-Itzá and aligned with the large and important site of Yaxhá located across the shallow lake from the island. The presentation took place on 4-Ajaw 13-Keh, or October 7, 691, as recorded in the hieroglyphic text. The gift/tribute includes a bundle sitting in front of the bench throne that contains 12,000 kakaw beans (3-piI) and a stack of cloth and quetzal feathers set behind the enthroned lord Ch’ok Wayis.

The hieroglyphic text around the vase’s rim confirms its being a kakaw-drinking vase of Lord Ch’ok Wayis, and the smaller texts within the scene record the diplomatic meeting and gift presentation, naming the portrayed emissary figures.

K’ak’ Hiix, an emissary of the Calakmul (Mexico) ruler Yich’aak K’ak’, presents tribute-12,000 cacao beans and a stack of cloth and quetzal feathers-to his enemy Ch’ok Wayis (Hasaw Chan K’awiil), the ruler of Tikal. The text states that the event took place at the Lake Yaxhá island town Topoxté on 4-Ajaw 13-Keh (October 7, 691). The tribute may have resulted from a skirmish or may have been a diplomatic entreaty to avert hostility; Tikal won a major battle against Calakmul four years later.


By 1972, sold by Lee Moore (dealer), Miami, to Landon T. Clay, Noston [see note]; 2004, year-end gift of Landon T. Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005)

NOTE: According to the donor at the time of the gift. The vase was studied as part of the Maya Ceramics Project (Smithsonian Institution) in the 1970s.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay