Vessel Depicting a Sacrificial Ceremony for a Royal Accession

A work made of ceramic and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of ceramic and pigment.

Date:

A.D. 650/800

Artist:

Late Classic Maya
Mexico or Guatemala

About this artwork

This vessel, used to consume a chocolate drink, depicts a key event in a royal Maya accession ceremony, which shows the relationship between human sacrifice and the assumption of power. The expectant king is flanked by servants, musicians, and masked nobles, while a terrified captive—bound to a scaffold—awaits his death. It is probable that the victim was a warrior from a rival community defeated by the prospective king during a coronation war. Such sacrifices were required as proof of a new ruler’s military abilities, provided an offering to his patron gods, and served as a sign of the triumphant reign to follow.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136

Artist

Maya

Title

Vessel Depicting a Sacrificial Ceremony for a Royal Accession

Origin

Mexico

Date

650 AD–800 AD

Medium

Ceramic and pigment

Dimensions

H. 19.7 cm (7 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund

Reference Number

1969.239

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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