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Lidded tetrapod bowl


Not on view

The pronounced hook at the tip of this waterbird’s bill suggests that it is a pelican who eagerly bites an unfortunate fish. This is no ordinary bird, however. It wears ornaments, and its wings, which extend over the lid’s surface, sport wide feathers growing from flattened serpent heads. This mythical bird is complemented by supernatural animal heads on the bowl’s legs.

Cuenco tetrápodo con tapa
Guatemala o México
Siglo IV al V
Cerámica, pigmento

La punta ganchuda del pico de esta ave sugiere que se trata de un pelícano que engulle a un pez desafortunado. Sin embargo, no es un pájaro cualquiera: lleva joyas, y sus alas, extendidas sobre la tapa, lucen anchas plumas que brotan de cabezas aplanadas de serpientes. Acompañan a esta figura mitológica las cabezas de animales sobrenaturales que se ven en las patas de la pieza.

Lidded tetrapod bowl, Ceramic, pigment, Maya

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Photo by Brooklyn Museum