Large Maya Cylinder Vase



500 AD to 800 AD

10 1/2″ tall by 7 1/2″ in diameter

An extremely large and fluted Maya cylinder vase from the Tikal area of Guatemala. This imposing piece is one of the largest examples I’ve had. They are typically used for drinking cacao, but this one must have been a pouring vessel. When placed into a royal tomb, it would have been filled with cacao beans to accompany a ruler into the Afterlife.

The body on this example is deeply fluted by hand, with the top left smooth. The upper band was painted in red, while the body was left in the buff clay color and stuccoed in a light pink color. There is a small remnant of it still present. 

Interestingly, almost identical cylinder vases have been found in royal burial #116 and #196 at Tikal in Guatemala during the Tikal Project in the 1960s. The former burial belonged to Jasaw Chan Kawaiil who passed in 734 AD and is buried under Temple 1. The later is still unidentified but known as Ruler B and most likely related to the former king. 

Ex Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, California. Acquired in the 1960s. 




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