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Object Record

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Artist Maya Culture
Title Man with Vessel on Back
Date 800 - 1000 CE
Medium Plumbate ware
Place of Origin Guatemala
Culture Maya Culture
Catalog Number 1973.19
Collection Pre-Columbian Art Collection
Object Name Sculpture
Credit line Gift of Frederick R. Pleasants
Didactic Information This effigy jar may represent a hunchback, who wears a comb-like headdress of twisted cords or braids and disc-shaped ear plugs. Other adornment includes bracelets and a pectoral pendant, which may represent an ornament made from pieces of either cut stone or shell. The position of the legs emphasizes the gesture of the arms, with cocked thumbs and extended fingers held to the chest. The figure itself disguises the fact that it is the bowl of the vessel.

The headdress and the incised pectoral are reminiscent of attributes of the god Xochipilli. Like most gods that formed the Mesoamerican pantheon, Xochipilli played a dual role in the culture. Both destructive and creative, this god is related to the Ahuiateteo, the gods of excess pleasure and consequential punishment.