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Tripod Dish: Division of the World into Four Parts

Location

MEXICO, YUCATÁN or CAMPECHE

Era

Late classic Period (600-900 C.E.)

Culture

Maya

Title

Tripod Dish: Division of the World into Four Parts

Date

600-850 C.E.

Materials

Earthenware, slip, polychrome painted decoration

Dimensions

8.1 cm (h.), 38.3 cm (diam.)

Credits

Purchase, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Benjamin, inv. 1972.Ac.1

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The world, as it was conceived by the ancient Maya, had two main dimensions: one vertical, with its stacking of subterranean, terrestrial and celestial layers; and the other horizontal, a plane divided into four sections, each associated with a cardinal point. In the centre, at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal planes, was the axis of the world, the point of connection between the upper and lower realms. Placed at the four corners of the earth’s surface, bearers called “bacabs” held up the sky.

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