Carved Bowl

Date: 6th century

Geography: Guatemala or Mexico, Mesoamerica

Culture: Maya

Medium: Ceramic

Dimensions: H. 6 3/4 x Diam. 9 1/4 in.

Classification: Ceramics-Containers

Credit Line: Purchase, Fletcher Fund and Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.60


This magnificent high-gloss blackware bowl is decorated with carved and incised feathered serpents. Profile human figures are seated in front of their bearded jaws. The bodies of the serpents undulate with regularity around the circumference of the vessel. The figures are perhaps emerging from the underworld as the bearded, feathered serpent is thought to be a personification of that fearsome place. On the inner rim of this bowl is a series of bars and dots that, if intended as a Maya date, would correspond with 539 A.D.