Lidded Vessel with Waterlilies and Hummingbirds

Lidded Vessel with Waterlilies and Hummingbirds

250–450 CE
Culture
Maya
Country
Guatemala, Mexico
bowl, lidded
Reduction fired earthenware
Purchased in honor of Jan and Frederick Mayer with funds from 2001 Collectors' Choice
1998.35A-B

Unknown Maya artists, Lidded Vessel with Waterlilies and Hummingbirds. Mexico or Guatemala, 250–450 CE. Reduction-fired ceramic. 12.5 x 12.375 in. Purchased in honor of Jan and Frederick Mayer with funds from 2001 Collector's Choice, 1998.35. 

This object is currently on view
Dimensions
height: 6 1/4 in, 15.8750 cm; diameter: 12 3/8 in, 31.4325 cm; base height: 6 1/4 in, 15.8750 cm; base diameter: 12 in, 30.4800 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Art of the Ancient Americas
Collection
Art of the Ancient Americas

Unknown Maya artists 
Mexico or Guatemala 
Lidded Vessel with Waterlilies and Hummingbirds 
250–450 CE
Reduction-fired ceramic 
Purchased in honor of Jan and Frederick Mayer with funds from 2001 Collectors’ Choice, 1998.35

Together, along with objects 1998.33 and 1998.34, these vessels map the three realms of the Maya cosmos: sky, earth, and underworld. The waterlily imagery represents the dark, still waters of the underworld, while the vessel featuring the fish handle and reptilian forms stands for the earth, often described as the back of an alligator. The third vessel, associated with the heavens, depicts the Principal Bird Deity, bearing on his back a hunchbacked, toothless man who is Itzamnaaj, the creator deity.

Further Reading: 

Rediscovered Masterpieces of Mesoamerica. 135. Editions Arts, Bologne, France. 1985:287. 

Fields, Virginia M. and Dorie Reents-Budet (eds.). Lords of Creation: Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship. London and Los Angeles: Scala Publishers. 2005.

Hellmuth, Nicholas. Monster und Menschen im der Maya-Kunst. 1987.

Exhibition History
  • “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 2/16/2020 – 11/8/2020