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Lidded Vessel
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Lidded Vessel

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description No ancient Mayan feast was complete without chocolate, offered to guests in pots like this one. Rather than formed into bars for eating, chocolate for the ancient Maya was a drink spiced with chili peppers and sweetened with honey. The theme of chocolate is reinforced in the vessel’s decoration, from the cacao beans (from which chocolate is made) sculpted on its body to the lid’s handle, which is shaped like a cacao tree. The Mayan Maize God, the most important deity for the Maya, is shown as his avatar the “Chocolate God,” on the incised panels. He is represented as a tree sprouting cacao pods.
  • Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1400 A.D.. Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe. 1998-2008.
  • Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection Gift. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. 2012-2013.
Provenance Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John G. Bourne, 1970s, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2009, by gift.
Credit Gift of John Bourne, 2009

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AD 250-550 (Early Classic)
earthenware, slip with incising
Accession Number
H: 13 11/16 x Diam: 9 in. (34.77 x 22.86 cm)


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