Permanent Collection

Parrot
Parrot

Parrot

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
13 3/4 x 19 3/4 in. (35 x 50.2 cm)
AP 1972.21
This schematized image of a bird depicts a parrot with a red beak and legs. Black tesserae outline a body predominantly composed of green tesserae with red and yellow around the black pupil of the eye, two yellow tones on the wing, and two gray tones on the underbody.
Peacock
Peacock

Peacock

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
16 3/4 x 20 1/4 in. (42.5 x 51.4 cm)
AP 1972.23
In early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality. This peacock might have carried this meaning, or it may have referred to worldly pride and vanity. This schematized image, with black eye, legs, and beak, faces toward the viewer’s right. The head, body, and wings are outlined in black.
Peacock and a Flower
Peacock and a Flower

Peacock and a Flower

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
24 11/16 x 39 in. (62.7 x 99.1 cm)
AP 1972.18
In Early Christian art, the peacock symbolized immortality and was therefore an appropriate element in the decoration of a church. The accompanying flower probably alludes to God’s bountiful creation.
Rooster
Rooster

Rooster

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
14 3/4 x 23 1/4 in. (37.5 x 59 cm)
AP 1972.20
As a rooster or cock, this long-necked bird with a red beak and wattle might allude to the episode of a rooster crowing in the Denial of Peter; as such, it would symbolize Peter’s repentance. This schematized image of a bird faces toward the viewer’s right.
Royal Belt Ornament
Royal Belt Ornament

Royal Belt Ornament

Possibly Guatemala, Maya culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–500
Pale gray-green jade
9 1/4 × 3 × 1/8 in. (23.5 × 7.6 × 0.3 cm)
AP 2004.05
This exquisitely decorated jade belt ornament originally formed part of a royal costume that included a belt assemblage consisting of three such pendants. One side represents a full-length profile portrait of a young Maya ruler richly attired in the regalia associated with enthronement.
Singing Priest or God
Singing Priest or God

Singing Priest or God

Mexico, Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacán culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–600
Fresco
23 11/16 x 43 1/2 in. (60.2 x 110.5 cm)
AP 1972.16
The city of Teotihuacán, located about thirty miles northeast of Mexico City,was the capital of the first classical civilization of Mesoamerica, dating from around the first to the seventh century A.D.
Tripod Vessel with Lid
Tripod Vessel with Lid

Tripod Vessel with Lid

Guatemala, Maya culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–500
Ceramic with stucco and polychrome pigments
H. 11 in. (27.9 cm); Diam. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
AP 1997.01
The art of the Maya is principally the art of the ruling elite. Vessels were made to honor and commemorate once-living rulers and to venerate their gods and ancestors; these objects, laden with power and symbolism, were then buried in tombs alongside their royal or noble owners.
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain
Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain

Urn in the Form of Cociyo, God of Lightning and Rain

Mexico, Oaxaca, Monte Albán IIIa, Zapotec culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 400–500
Ceramic
28 1/2 x 21 x 18 in. (72.4 x 53.3 x 45.7 cm)
AP 1985.09
The primary capital of Zapotec culture was the ceremonial site of Monte Albán (in the modern state of Oaxaca), where the Zapotecs worshipped a complex pantheon of nature gods.
Four-Armed Ganesha
Four-Armed Ganesha

Four-Armed Ganesha

India, Uttar Pradesh
Gupta period (320–600)
5th–6th century A.D.
Terracotta relief
19 5/16 x 26 3/4 x 8 1/8 in. (49.1 x 67.9 x 20.6 cm)
AP 1981.11
Ganesha is the elephant-headed son of Shiva, one of the three most important deities of the Hindu pantheon, and his consort, the goddess Parvati. He is widely worshiped as the remover of obstacles and the bestower of good fortune, prosperity, and health.
Pedestaled Ceremonial Stand
Pedestaled Ceremonial Stand

Pedestaled Ceremonial Stand

Korean
Silla Kingdom (57 B.C.–A.D. 668)
5th–6th century
Gray stoneware
H. 13 in. (33 cm); Diam. 15 3/4 in. (40 cm)
AP 1996.05
This large pedestal probably served as a support for a large round-bottomed jar. Made for use by the living, it was no doubt later included in a tomb as part of a funerary offering.
Lion
Lion

Lion

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 450–62
Mosaic
42 1/2 x 76 15/16 in. (108 x 195.5 cm)
AP 1972.17
This schematized image of a ferocious lion probably came from a pavement decoration. It might represent a lion as part of a hunt scene or as a motif in a religious narrative.
Haniwa Seated Man
Haniwa Seated Man

Haniwa Seated Man

Japan, Ibaraki prefecture, Kashima, Hokota site
Kofun period (248–646)
c. A.D. 500
Low-fired clay with cinnabar pigment
29 15/16 x 10 5/8 in. (76 x 27 cm)
AP 1972.02
Haniwa, which means “circle (or tube) of clay,” is the term given to large numbers of hollow clay cylinders that were placed in and around the bases of large earthen mounds covering Japanese royal tombs.
Codex-Style Vessel with Two Scenes of Pawahtun Instructing Scribes
Codex-Style Vessel with Two Scenes of Pawahtun Instructing Scribes

Codex-Style Vessel with Two Scenes of Pawahtun Instructing Scribes

Possibly Mexico or Guatemala, Maya culture
Late Classic period (A.D. 600–900)
c. A.D. 550–950
Ceramic with monochrome decoration
H. 3 3/4 (9.5 cm); Diam. 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm)
AP 2004.04
This celebrated vessel depicts two scenes with the deity Pawahtun, a principal god of Maya scribes, in animated lessons with young disciples. The Pawahtun is recognizable by his aged features and his netted headdress with a brush wedged into the ties.
Vessel with a Mythological Frieze
Vessel with a Mythological Frieze

Vessel with a Mythological Frieze

Possibly Guatemala or Belize, Maya culture
Late Classic period (A.D. 600–900)
c. A.D. 550–950
Polychromed ceramic
H. 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm); Diam. 5 5/16 in. (13.5 cm)
AP 2004.02
This tall vessel is skillfully painted with a unique mythological frieze depicting two renderings of the aged supreme deity Itzamna, the god of heaven and sun for the Yucatec Maya.
Jar in the Shape of a Stupa
Jar in the Shape of a Stupa

Jar in the Shape of a Stupa

China, Shaanxi, Shandong, or Henan province
Northern Qi period or Sui dynasty (550–577/581–618)
late 6th or early 7th century
Earthenware with traces of painted polychrome pigment
19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
AP 1994.06 a,b,c
This unusual pottery jar illustrates the early assimilation of Buddhist motifs to the decoration of Chinese mortuary objects.
Smiling Girl Holding a Basket
Smiling Girl Holding a Basket

Smiling Girl Holding a Basket

Mexico, central Veracruz, Nopiloa style
Late Classic period (A.D. 600–900)
A.D. 600–750
Ceramic with white slip and traces of paint
7 9/16 x 6 1/8 x 3 3/4 in. (19.2 x 15.5 x 9.5 cm)
AP 1978.01
Among numerous regional variations, hollow modeled figures from the Veracruz area of the Gulf Coast are noted for their typical smiling facial expressions and the great care given to the slightest details of ornament and attire.

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