Vase with appliqued snakes

Late Classic Period
A.D. 550–850

Object Place: Guatemala or Belize


15.2 x 17.2 cm (6 x 6 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Earthenware: unslipped and burnished, traces of white pigment

Not On View





The body of this jar is embellished with small irregular globs of clay, unslipped and unsmoothed. Within this rough clay matrix are two modeled serpents with smoothly burnished bodies, the visual effect resembling snakes slithering within loosen or tilled soil. The vessel is uncharacteristically heavy in weight due to the clay matrix added to the vase’s surface and its unusually thick bottom and tall ring base.


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