On View

Conch Shell Trumpet
Conch Shell Trumpet

Conch Shell Trumpet

Guatemala, Maya culture
Early Classic period (A.D. 250–600)
c. A.D. 250–400
Shell with traces of cinnabar
H. 11 9/16 in. (29.3 cm); Diam. 5 1/4 in. (13.4 cm)
AP 1984.11
This elaborately decorated conch shell bears the face of a Maya king, carefully incised following the undulations in the shell’s surface, and a column of glyphs to the side recording the name of its royal owner.
Tripod Vessel
Tripod Vessel

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
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.
Bearded Man
Bearded Man

Bearded Man

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
22 1/4 x 21 1/8 in. (56.5 x 53.7 cm)
AP 1972.19
The identity of this image of a bearded man is unknown. His iconic, frontal pose and serene expression perhaps indicate that he is meant to represent a biblical figure, though not all church decoration at this time was overtly Christian in iconography.
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)
Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)

Chalice (?) with Two Strands of Ivy (?)

Syria
5th century
c. A.D. 400
Mosaic
18 1/16 x 19 in. (45.8 x 48.2 cm)
AP 1972.22
This chalice is a flattened, schematized image of a vessel with a hemispherical bottom from which rises a hollow stem with two strands of ivy streaming from the top.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standing Dignitary
Standing Dignitary

Standing Dignitary

Peru, South Coast, Wari culture
Middle Horizon, c. 7th–11th century A.D.
c. A.D. 600–1000
Wood with shell-and-stone inlay and silver
4 x 2 1/2 x 1 in. (10.2 x 6.4 x 2.6 cm)
AP 2002.04
This rare Wari freestanding figurine is composed of intricate and densely patterned inlays of mother-of-pearl, purple and orange spondylus shell, mussel shell, turquoise, pyrite, greenstone, lapis lazuli, and silver (for the headdress) on a wood matrix.

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