Vessel with Five Figures

Precolumbianc. A.D. 750–800

Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum
Fort Worth, United States

Processional scenes are a common mode of representation on Maya painted vessels. On each side of this vessel a noble lord prepares to dance with a lady. While the two women are clearly differentiated in dress and facial expression, the opposing male figure of a lord may in fact be the same individual, as the facial profiles with goatee beards are identical. The lord’s headdress features a band of jaguar pelts crowned by an animal head. The second male, standing between the two pairs of figures, is possibly an attendant. He holds a baton of a type that appears also in war scenes, here perhaps simply indicating his status. Just below the rim is the Primary Standard Sequence, a formulaic text that here describes the vessel as a vase for the chocolate drink; following it are the name glyphs of the vase’s royal owner or patron. The vertical texts are merely repetitions of the same glyph, perhaps meaningless.


  • Title: Vessel with Five Figures
  • Creator: Precolumbian
  • Date Created: c. A.D. 750–800
  • Location: Mexico, Usumacinta River Valley, Maya culture
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 10 3/16 in. (25.8 cm); Diam. 6 1/4 in. (15.8 cm)
  • Provenance: (Edward H. Merrin Gallery, New York) c. 1970; purchased by Mary O’Boyle II, New York, 1977; acquired by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1979, gift of Mary O’Boyle II in memory of John William and Mary Seegar O’Boyle.
  • Rights: Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
  • External Link: www.kimbellart.org
  • Medium: Polychromed ceramic
  • Kamakura period (1185-1333): Late Classic period (A.D. 600–900)
  • Credit: Gift of Mary O’Boyle II in memory of John William and Mary Seegar O’Boyle

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