Mayan Pottery Polychrome Codex Cylinder of Itzamnaaj God D

14668. Mayan Pottery Polychrome Codex Cylinder of Itzamnaaj God D

Ca. 700 to 800 AD.

The rim text begins just above the scene where Itzamnaaj (God D) reaches out with his right hand to stroke the kneeling fawn’s ear. Alay, Here; (B-C) Tz’ibi’, tz’ib’; yi-chi, yich, the painted surface; (D) yu-k’ib’i, yuk’ib’, of his drinking cup; (E) TA-yu-ta-la, ta yutal, for fresh (repainted glyph); (F) ka-ka-wa, kakaw, cacao/chocolate; (G) itz’aat(i), sage/artist (repainted); (H) ?-la-tzi, aj laatz, ballplayer/one who plays ball; (I) aj-na-be, he of the carving instrument.
The vase appears to belong to the group of "Dying God" vessels connected to the theme of the deer hunt. Among other things, this is apparent from the antler forehead ornament of the spotted Twin
This cylindrical vase was made to hold a fresh chocolate beverage for an elite, versed in arts, and was a ballplayer. Below the rim text, is a scene, totally unrelated to the function of this vase. It depicts the Maya creator deity, Itzamnaaj (God D), reaching out as, as if to pet the fawn prostrated before him. Between the two is a vertical column, a caption of four glyphs: o-na, o’n, many; mook-ta, maize offering; ya-le-la, yal, ‘child of the mother’; Oc, dog (with torn ear). This is a greeting to the aninmal, by Itzamnaaj. Greetings, by Itzamnaaj, occur on other vases such as K 2026 (, a vase with ‘many’ rabbits, which has a similar caption.

The second or adjacent scene is much more difficult to interpret. A caption of five glyphs survives, only the second glyph is recognizable, Hun Ajaw, Hunahpu, one of the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh, who is
portrayed in the adjacent scene (identifiable in part, by the round black markings on his body). Before Hunahpu is a person that appears to be reclining in the arms of a seated women, who supports them. The reclining figures belly appears to be swollen, with a protruding twisted navel, perhaps indicative of a bloated corpse? In similarly portrayed individuals (see K 0927; 2286 and 2716), they are named sitz’ winik, gluttony man, a way, a companion spirit, much like the “naguales”, still existing in various Maya Highland groups in Guatemala and in the Yucatek Peninsula today. The latter reclines before a seated Hunahpu, who reaches out with his right arm, as if giving a benediction.

Size: 7-1/4 in (18cm) H. x 4-1/2 in W.; Dia.: 11.0 cms.

A fine example with vibrant colors and excellent brushwork
Provenance: Dr. R G, Orlando FL; acquired Jan 2021 from NY trade who acquired it 2003 from Diane McBride, daughter of Major Elmer McBride, who acquired it in 1947.
K1900 has a figure reclining with back against another.


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