The surface of this bottle was probably blackened through smudging: at the time it was fired, the piece came into direct contact with organic materials and the smoke emitted released carbon, which adhered to the surface. The technique enabled the creation of a colour contrast between its polished section and the decorative band produced through carving. Traces of red pigment, likely of ground hematite, suggest that the contrast must have been even more striking originally. What is known as the S-scroll design was one of the most recurrent motifs in Olmec-style pottery throughout Mesoamerica. That wide distribution, as well as art dealers’ frequent attribution of such works to the site of Las Bocas as evidence of quality, makes the exact geographic provenance of this bottle uncertain.