Exploring the Early Americas
Reading Pre-Columbian Artifacts
GUATEMALAN LOWLANDS. Early Classic Maya, AD 200–600. Painted ceramic. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
Vessels like this one were used to hold ceremonial offerings and were ritually buried in consecrated locations, such as beneath stone monuments and temples, or buried with a wealthy lord. The face of the Sun God, Kinich Ajaw, dominates the lower part of the vessel. The mask of his counterpart, the Jaguar God of the Underworld or the night sun, supports the Sun God. The upper part of the vessel presents the night sun, identified by the curl between the eyes.