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Funerary urn

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Dated: 600-900

Cultural Context: Mayan style. Late Classic

Origin: Department of Quiché (Guatemala, Central America)

Medium: Clay

Technique: Modelled

Dimensions: Height = 100.3 cm; Width = 60 cm

Iconography Kinich Ahau; Religious

Inventory no.: 1991/11/12

Funerary urn, the lower part of which depicts the face of the sun god Kinich Ahau emerging from the jaws of a big cat (jaguar). The god's face displays his typical attributes: pupils with incised spirals at their centre, broad eyebrows, aquiline nose, bulging cheeks, half-open mouth revealing teeth, and two scrolls emerging from the corners of his lips. The lid depicts a young lord with the attributes of the solar divinity of the underworld, seated on the trunk of a ceiba, the sacred tree of the Maya. The Quiché peoples were considered one of the most powerful groups in the Guatemalan central highlands. This type of urn was intended to contain the remains of a deceased ruler or priest. This explains these urns’ elaborate manufacture, as well as the presence in their decoration of deities or mythological beings emerging from the open jaws of snakes, jaguars or other monstrous characters.

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