Rare Honduran Marble Vessel, Ulúa Valley,
ca. A.D. 900 - 1100
height 9 1/4in (23.5cm)
from the Travesea area, probably Mantecales, finely carved in cylindrical shape with opposite projecting skull handles, the body covered with curled designs and a face on each side, resting on a base with step cuts below a band of chevrons; smooth buff surface with patches of hematite residue and calcium powder.
Private American Collection, prior to 1970
Dr. David Harmer Collection, 1980s
Ulúa marble vessels were produced for ritual use by priests and the nobility and were traded among the elite Maya in other cities. Most vessels are uniform in iconographic design and usually share common motifs, including scrolls, which may refer to the rain god Chaac/Chac, the wind and sun god Kinich Ahayu, T-shapes which may refer to the ik for "wind". As Maya economy was based on agriculture, which was dependent on rain and water, the petition of agriculture was under the direction of rulers and priests.