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HOME : Pre-Columbian Art : Mayan Bowls, Plates and Vessels : Mayan Tetrapod Bowl with a Painted Bird
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Mayan Tetrapod Bowl with a Painted Bird - PF.2666
Origin: El Salvador
Circa: 500 AD to 900 AD
Dimensions: 2" (5.1cm) high x 6.125" (15.6cm) wide
Collection: Pre-Columbian
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The story of the Maya in the tropical forest of Meso-America and much of it remains untold today. The origin of Maya society is as much a mystery as its sudden and unexplained collapse. We do not know why their monuments and temples unattended. What we do know is that from 300 B.C. to 1200 A.D., the Maya shaped a rich, complex society in Southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The peak of their extraordinary culture, marked by great achievements in art, mathematics and science, was during the same period of time that Europe was emerging from the dark ages. Besides being accomplished astrologers, merchants and farmers, the Maya were skilled artists who not only created monumental works of architecture but also fashioned exceptional ceramics, whose distinct beauty and craftsmanship remain on a par with the finest man has ever created. This handsome tetra pod bowl reveals the Maya artist's characteristic eye for imaginative, well- balanced design. Resting elegantly on four sculpted feet, the bowl features the creatively rendered image of a long-beaked bird, standing in the center of the bowl. With wings spread wide and head raised, the bird appears as if ready to address the world through boisterous song. As we observe the unusual shape of his dot-crested head, our eye is drawn to a similar shape that forms part of the dramatic, abstract design framing the avian's image. More than just a work of art, this Maya bowl speaks of a civilization whose artistic sensibilities were in fine tune with the intricate patterns and rhythms of the forested world surrounding them. - (PF.2666)


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