Tripod Vessel

Mexico or Guatemala, Maya culture
Classic period (A.D. 250–900)
c. A.D. 300–900
Limestone
H. 9 7/16 in. (23.9 cm); Diam. 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm)
AP 1994.02
Currently Not On View
This Maya limestone vessel is unusual for its beautiful material and simple form. The vessel is crafted from a single piece of stone into a cylindrical vase with straight flaring sides ending in a slightly everted lip. At the base are three supports of rounded “tear-drop” form. The expertly ground walls are so thin as to be translucent, making the piece surprisingly lightweight for its size. While the main corpus of Maya art is noted for its dense and complex pictorial decoration, the absence of decoration on this vessel only enhances the appeal of its pure, elegant form. The superior quality of the workmanship suggests that it was intended for a wealthy Maya clientele, probably as a funerary offering.

Provenance

purchased by John Williams III, Dallas, Texas, beginning to mid-1970s; (Ancient Art of the New World, New York); purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1994.