Cylinder Vessel with "Death Eye"/Jaguar Spots

11008213-1996_003_011_Bpa_ARC.tif

Title

Cylinder Vessel with "Death Eye"/Jaguar Spots

Keywords

Ceramic, container

Date

600 - 900 AD

Context

Late Classic
Mesoamerica, Guatemala
Maya

Medium/Dimensions

Ceramic
7 1/8 x 4 3/16 in. (18.1 x 10.7 cm)

Object Number

1996.003.011

Description

Cylindrical vessels were high-status items in Maya society, used for drinking beverages made with kakaw, or chocolate. Not consumed as solid food, chocolate was frothed into water as a ritual drink. Not sweet as we would expect, kakaw was often mixed with chili peppers and even substances that helped shamans transform into their spirit selves. This vessel is decorated with a motif of disembodied eyes that in other depictions is worn by several supernatural beings, including wayob (pronounced why-ohb), the animal spirit doubles of shamans. Around the eyes, the black marks resemble the rosette spots of the jaguar, and together the two patterns may therefore refer to the beverage inside having the power to turn the drinker into his jaguar wayob. Since the jaguar was the most powerful animal spirit, the vessel probably belonged to an important shaman or was used for a significant ritual.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift in honor of William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau

Exhibits/Publications

'For I am the Black Jaguar': Shamanic Visionary Experience in Ancient American Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum, September 5, 2012 - January 5, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, February 9, 2013 - Present
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), 12, figure 12.

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Cylinder Vessel with "Death Eye"/Jaguar Spots,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 16, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7852.

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