Incensario (Incense Burner)

Mayaca. 600- 900 (Late Classic)

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Made up of smoothed sheets and coils of coarse orange clay, this "incensario," or incense burner, depicts one of the Palenque Triad of deities that art historians call "GIII." The Maya called him Kinich Ajaw, or "Sun Lord." He is shown here with his trademark nose, and shell and fish symbols around his mouth. The stacking of faces is a hallmark of "incensarios" from the site of Palenque, where there was probably a workshop dedicated to their production. The potent effect of smoke and fragrance that would have risen from this visually provocative incense burner indeed reflects a Maya preference for ceremonial theatrics.


  • Title: Incensario (Incense Burner)
  • Date Created: ca. 600- 900 (Late Classic)
  • Type: incense burners
  • Rights: Gift of John A. Stokes, Jr., 2003, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: earthenware
  • Provenance: Raul Kamffer, Mexico City, Mexico; John A. Stokes, Jr., New York; Walters Art Museum, 2003, by gift.
  • Place of Origin: Chiapas, Mexico
  • ExhibitionHistory: Art of the Ancient Americas. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2002-2010
  • Artist: Maya

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