This presentation will focus on a group of objects properly called “temple censers," containers used to burn incense. The details carved into the containers depict temple superstructures and sometimes include elements of the basal platforms.
These censers can be understood as models of actual temples (with higher or lower degrees of accuracy, simplification, idealization, or hyperbole). They offer a glance at the architectural conformation, ornamentation, religious symbolism, and even the ritual activities that were carried out in the Early Classic shrines of Escuintla.
Early Classic censers from Escuintla, Guatemala, are among the most remarkable ceramic sculptures from ancient Mesoamerica. While the lack of provenance data for the large majority of examples hinders their archaeological study, centers conform a major corpus of information about the culture and religion of Pacific coastal peoples. This includes information from a critical period marked by intensive contact with the great city of Teotihuacan in highland Mexico.
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