Jar with Cut Maguey Leaves

Date: 2nd century B.C.–A.D. 3rd century

Geography: Mexico, Mesoamerica, Colima

Culture: Colima

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 6 15/16 x Diam. 10 1/2 in. (17.7 x 26.7 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.206.958


Like other ceramic objects from Colima, the subject matter of this vessel was taken directly from the imagery of daily life. The four projecting elements of this pot are representations of a regional food staple, the succulent base of the maguey agave cactus leaf that even today is roasted and sold in the local markets of western Mexico, the area from which this jar came. Other Colima vessels of this type depict piles of fruits and vegetables, such as zapotes and squashes. All are characterized by simple, elegant motifs rendered three-dimensionally and presented in repetition. These ceramics have been found in burial contexts and their shape suggests that they would have held a liquid, perhaps one derived from the object that they depict. In this vessel, the roasted cactus, called mescal, like the fermented beverage produced by it, is depicted as if set in a bowl ready for consumption.