Tripod Vase with Sculpted Heads and Incised Headdresses



Tripod Vase with Sculpted Heads and Incised Headdresses




450 - 550 AD


Early-Middle Classic
Mesoamerica, Highland Guatemala


7 x 6 5/16 in. (17.8 x 16 cm)

Object Number



This tripod vessel is superbly crafted, with thin walls, hollow modeled appliqué heads, and finely incised decoration. The heads have several holes in them that most likely would have held feathers, creating a colorful three-dimensional headdress in front of the intricate versions incised on the vessel. The result of cultural interaction in what is now lower Guatemala, this vessel form-a wide cylinder with three slab legs-is typical of Teotihuacan wares from Central Mexico, but the delicate decoration, curving lines, and iconography are Maya, from eastern Mesoamerica. Its unique combination of features is a testament to the extent of the trading routes and political reach of both cultures that met in the area near the site of Kaminaljuyú.

Credit Line

Gift of William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau


Pre-Columbian Art from the Collections of Paul A. Clifford and William C. Thibadeau, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, February 13 - April 4, 1971|
Pre-Columbian Art in Southern Collections, Huntsville Museum of Art, September 9 - October 28, 1979|
Seeing with New Eyes: Pre-Columbian Art from the Thibideau Collection, Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology, March 4 - October 13, 1992|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2002 - June 2012|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, February 9, 2013 - Present
Pre-Columbian Art from the Collections of Paul A. Clifford and William C. Thibadeau (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 1971).|
Pre-Columbian Art in Southern Collections: September 9 - October 28, 1979 (Huntsville: The Museum, 1979), no. 46.|
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Seeing With New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2002), 21, figure 21.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
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On View



“Tripod Vase with Sculpted Heads and Incised Headdresses,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed January 16, 2019,

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