Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown

Bottle: S-scroll Motif

Location

MEXICO, possibly PUEBLA, LAS BOCAS

Era

Middle Preclassic period (1200-400 B.C.E.)

Culture

Olmec

Title

Bottle: S-scroll Motif

Date

1500-900 B.C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, incised decoration, pigment

Dimensions

20 cm (h.), 12 cm (diam.)

Credits

Gift of Rollande and Jean-Claude Bertounesque, inv. 2007.371

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

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.

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation