Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Tripod Vessel

4th–5th century
Mexico, Mesoamerica
Ceramic, red ochre
H. 9 5/8 x Diam. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 x 24.4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
Bowls with three sturdy feet and more or less straight sides are so identified with central highland Teotihuacan that their presence anywhere else in Mexico is considered evidence of the great city's influence. Teotihuacan tripods were made in a wide range of size, color, and surface treatment, and were widely disseminated in ancient Mesoamerica, whether by trade or by warfare is not completely resolved. The present example is reported to be from a burial site in the Basin of Mexico called Santiago Ahuizotla, which is known to have been dug in the 1940s by local inhabitants. The surface is carved in very low relief; the main motif is a large feathered headdress. Smaller symbols are stacked in the center of the headdress—a half-star at the top, a feathered eye in the center, and a "reptile-eye" at the bottom. Scholars associate the reptile-eye with mortuary symbolism, underscoring the probable burial function of the vessel.
[Stendahl Art Galleries, Los Angeles, until 1955]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1955, on loan to the Museum of Primitive Art, 1956–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 578.

Related Objects

Tripod Vessel

Artist: Date: 4th–5th century
Accession Number: 1979.206.364
Date: 4th–5th century Medium: Ceramic, red ochre Accession: 1979.206.364 On view in:Gallery 358

Seated Figure

Artist: Date: 12th–9th century B.C.
Accession Number: 1979.206.1134
Date: 12th–9th century B.C. Medium: Ceramic, pigment Accession: 1979.206.1134 On view in:Gallery 358

Codex-Style Vase with Mythological Scene

Artist: Date: ca. 7th or 8th century
Accession Number: 2014.632.1
Date: ca. 7th or 8th century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 2014.632.1 On view in:Gallery 358

Bird Vessel

Artist: Date: 12th–9th century B.C.
Accession Number: 1986.45
Date: 12th–9th century B.C. Medium: Ceramic, red ochre Accession: 1986.45 On view in:Gallery 358

Decorated Ware Jar Depicting Ungulates and Boats with Human Figures

Artist: Date: ca. 3500–3300 B.C.
Accession Number: 20.2.10
Date: ca. 3500–3300 B.C. Medium: Pottery, paint Accession: 20.2.10 On view in:Gallery 101