Post Lot Text
MAYAN CEREMONIAL LIDDED VESSEL
EARLY CLASSIC, CA. A.D. 250-450
The tall, thin cylindrical body standing on pierced, slab feet surmounted by a conical lid with slightly incurved rim, the handle molded with the menacing head of the Waterlily Serpent Monster with gaping jaws showing row of filed teeth, sporting a beard trimmed with jade beads, projecting snout with jade beads at the nostrils and a curved beak issuing from the top, pierced , crescentic eyes, wearing massive earspools, surmounted by a complex headdress with a central medallion incorporating a waterlily pad on a feathery ground possibly the blossom, flanked by curling scrolls possibly the roots, with a taller panache of stems emerging from the top.
Known only among the Maya, the Water Lily Serpent symbolizes the surface of still water. In fact, the Lowland Maya languages, (Na:ab), the words for waterlily and lake are homonyms. He is a supernatural patron of the number 13 and may also figure as the personified tun, or year, sign. At Dzibilchaltun, Waterlily Serpents undulate along the upper frieze of the temple of the Seven Dolls. Today, waterlilies float on the Dzibilchaltun cenote. In fact, Late Classic period Maya kings and other lords wear the head of the Waterlily Serpent as a headdress (fig.1).
This fine blackware vessel might have served as censer, filled either with copal or incense, this must have produced an arresting sight as smoke issued from the snarling open mouth of this primordial water being.