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Currently shown

Cylindrical Vessel: Accession to Power Scene

Location

GUATEMALA, PETÉN

Era

Classic Period (250-950 C.E.)

Culture

Maya

Title

Cylindrical Vessel: Accession to Power Scene

Date

600-850 C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, slip, polychrome painted decoration

Dimensions

20.8 cm (h.), 13.8 cm. (diam.)

Credits

Gift of Rollande and Jean-Claude Bertounesque, inv. 2007.375

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Obviously executed for propaganda purposes, the scene painted on this cup for drinking cocoa shows a both historical and legendary figure named Sihyaj K’ahk’. Mentioned time and again on sculpted stelae, that emissary of the city of Teotihuacan is known for having played a major role in the dynastic upheavals that led to the establishment of a new political order in the central Maya Lowlands in the late fourth century of the Common Era. Even though several centuries could have elapsed between the time of that figure and their reign, various Maya rulers had themselves depicted in his company. By claiming a distant family relationship with the illustrious personage, they asserted their authority and legitimized their power. The use of warrior imagery and symbols borrowed from Teotihuacan supported the political message.


Inscription:
Alay uh/t'ab' yich utz'ihb'aal yuk'ib' ta tzih yuk'ib' [ka]kaw chak ch'ok
[Here is consecrated the surface and painting/writing of the crown prince’s fresh cocoa drinking cup]

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