Terracotta vessel ”Maya”

600 €

Pre-Columbian era, Maya culture, Guatemala, Mesoamerica, private collection from Finland.

This remarkable bulbous terracotta vessel are from the Maya civilization, pre-Columbian era Guatemala, Central America and dating c. 550AD-900AD

Pre-Columbian art encompasses the artefacts created by the indigenous peoples from the second millennium BC to the time of arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, when the existing culture were conquered by the Europeans.

Beyond the more familiar civilisations such as the Incas and the Maya, smaller ethnic groups were able to develop their own distinctive cultures and artistic style. Many of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history.

A very large proportion of pre-Columbian art is made of terracotta. This globular terracotta vessel has figural depiction of a turtle. The turtle was an important and sacred Mayan animal in regards to the creation myth of the Mayan culture. For the Maya the turtle was associated with water and with the earth. The Maya deity Pauahtun who supported the world on his shoulders is often depicted wearing a turtle shell on his head. Important God of Maize is also shown emerging from a turtle shell. This vessel was probably made for sacred fertility ritual. Its delicately painted with red pigment and embellished with various symbols. Good condition. Age-related minor wear, dirt, dust and soil. Mineralization on the surface. Size approx. 13,5cm x 15,5cm x 15,2cm. Weight c. 816g.