Bowl with Seated Maize Gods



Bowl with Seated Maize Gods


Ceramic, container


600 - 1000 AD


Late-Terminal Classic
Mesoamerica, Coastal Campeche


4 5/16 x 5 3/4 in. (11 x 14.6 cm)

Object Number



This fine, thin-walled vessel is a superb example of the technique of incising through a white-slipped surface to reveal the darker clay beneath. The Maya phrase y-ul xul, meaning "his incising, finishing", recognized both the technique and the talent of the artist. The flowing, curvilinear lines of the Maize God (known as Hun Nal or God E) show him in an unusual full-profile pose, rather than a combination of frontal body and profile head that the Maya preferred. Scientific testing identified maize residue inside, linking the bowl's function-serving corn gruel-directly to its outer decoration. Maize was important to the Maya not only as a foodstuff; they endowed it with spiritual powers of regeneration, rebirth, and the sacred qualities of kingship, making it an ideal subject for this high-status work of art.

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, 1971|
Ceremonial Objects of Ancient Mexico, Pink Palace Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, April 28 - September 2, 1984|
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), 9.|
Anne B. Hurley, Ceremonial Objects of Ancient Mexico (Memphis: Memphis Museums, 1984), 27.|
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), 18, figure 20.


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



“Bowl with Seated Maize Gods,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 20, 2019,

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