Tripod Rattle Bowl

Tripod Rattle Bowl

A.D. 1200-1550
Culture
Tarascan
Locale
Michoacán
Country
Mexico
bowl, tripod
Earthenware with slip and resist decoration
Gift of Alice Tillet
1986.158
. Tripod Rattle Bowl . A.D. 1200-1550. Earthenware with slip and resist decoration. Gift of Alice Tillet. 1986.158.
This object is currently on view
Dimensions
height: 6.625 in, 16.8275 cm; diameter: 8.25 in, 20.9550 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Tripod Rattle Bowl
Tarascan
About A.D. 1200–1500
Mexico, Michoacán
Earthenware with resist decoration
Gift of Alice Tillett, 1986.158

The Tarascan people of Michoacan were politically united under the authority of a king whose capital was the city of Tzintzuntzan, near Lake Pátzcuaro.  Tarascan kings also served as effective war leaders, successfully resisting Aztec assaults and maintaining their people’s independence until the Spanish conquest.  

Tzintzuntzan’s most impressive architectural monument is a huge, stone faced platform topped by five stepped pyramids called “yákatas.”  Tombs with rich offerings interred in the yákatas probably held the remains of Tarascan kings or nobles.  Tarascan craftsmen produced sophisticated tools and ornaments in obsidian, gold, copper, shell, and turquoise.  They also manufactured highly distinctive ceramic forms with painted and smoke-decorated surfaces.   This bowl features large, swollen hollow legs containing pellets that rattle when it is moved.  Its surface was coated with a pale slip and burnished before firing.   After cooling, a pattern was painted on using liquid clay or some other soluble material.  The vessel was then smoked over a fire to darken the unprotected surfaces.  When the resist material was washed off, the boldly contrasting pattern was revealed.