Cylindrical tripod vessel with two goggled figures

400–650 CE
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General Description

The art style associated with the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan (Teotihuacán) is one of the great traditions of ancient Mesoamerica. Nature, fertility, sacrifice, and war were the primary artistic themes, which were eloquently expressed in mural painting, on stone masks, and in painted scenes on ceramic vessels. Teotihuacan ceramic fashions influenced potters throughout Mayan Mesoamerica. The cylindrical shape of this vessel with three rounded feet was the most characteristic form. The incised decoration shows two figures in profile wearing goggles around their eyes and nose ornaments with three fang-like elements. These are attributes of the Storm God, a rain god who was also a god of warfare, as the shield carried by each figure suggests. The prominent headdress topped by green feathers is probably an indication of high status. These luxury vessels have been found in burials at Teotihuacan and as trade pieces in distant parts of Mesoamerica.

Adapted from

Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Cylindrical tripod vessel with two goggled figures (2007.70.FA)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 40.