Bottle with incised figures of a young lord

600–900 CE
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General Description

Small flat-sided bottles have been found in Mexico in northwest Yucatán and at Palenque in Chiapas. They are also known from Altar de Sacrificios in the Petén area of Guatemala. Some are undecorated; others are incised, although rarely with the delicacy and detail of this example.

A young lord is shown seated. He extends his right arm, below which a subtle winglike element can be seen. He wears a long necklace with a flowerlike pendant, ear ornaments, and a headdress ornament. All are probably references to actual jade ornaments, which for the Maya symbolized life—the breath spirit or soul essence. Jade ornaments often take the form of flowers, which are also symbols of breath essence. Two parallel lines in front of the young lord’s mouth end in another flowerlike shape, which may also be an image of breath.

Excerpt from

Carol Robbins, Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries, 2008.